Mapping your child's brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders

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Mapping your child's brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders (KTRK)

If you think your child is among the 11 percent of children 4 to 17 years old the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may want to consider an objective tool that some doctors believe offers a more precise diagnosis for social disorders.

Dr. Ron Swatzyna at the Tarnow Center for Self-Management in Houston offers QEEG or brain mapping to his patients, including children.

Non-invasive, painless electrodes are placed on key parts of the patient's scalp. Brain waves are measured and then mapped on a computer where a diagnostician can identify if brain waves are too active or too slow and compare them to the development of other children of the same age.

Many children are diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, autism and social disorders through a subjective process in which teachers and parents observe their behavior. However, Dr. Swatzyna says brain mapping allows an objective way to collect data.

Sometimes the symptoms that seem to point to one condition are revealed to be another after brain waves are measured. Swatzyna says patients come to learn the specifics.

"The reason for their symptoms," he said. "I think that's the number one thing, what's causing the symptoms and not just a guess based on the symptoms."

Swatzyna says the percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, up about five percent a year since 2003. Still, brains are muscles which can be strengthened through experiences and treatment. It's a difference that Swatyna says you can see not only on brain maps, but also on the faces of proud parents once a child is able to work through an accurate diagnosis.

Brain mapping costs about $1,200, though it is often on par with the typical psychiatrist fee for a subjective diagnosis.

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healthchildren's healthautismADHDHouston
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