Ask the Experts

Is Brain Imaging a Good Diagnostic Tool?

“We think our daughter has attention deficit. The doctor recommended an MRI.”

No, it isn’t. An MRI won’t help your doctor diagnose ADHD. At this time, we do not have firm evidence as to the precise areas of the brain that cause ADHD behaviors.

ADHD is diagnosed clinically. A professional talks with your daughter, you and your husband, and teachers, and tries to determine the following: Does your daughter show behaviors that suggest that she is hyperactive, inattentive, has difficulty with organization, or is impulsive? If so, does the history of these problems suggest that they are chronic (have been noted since early childhood) and pervasive (occur at home, in school, with peers, in activities). You should educate your daughter’s physician about diagnosing ADHD or find another practitioner.

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