ADHD study recognised at international conference

A study that could change the way patients are diagnosed with ADHD has been recognised at an international conference.

Dr Rajesh Nair, a consultant psychiatrist at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) completed a project at Newcastle University on ‘Multimodal Sensing and AI in ADHD Detection’.

This was presented at the 2023 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Signal and Image Processing (AIRoSIP), and was awarded ‘Best Paper’ at the event.

The conference celebrated the sharing of ideas and new developments looking at how artificial intelligence can work alongside daily lives.

The paper, titled ‘ADHD mental health symptoms detection based on facial landmark tracking’, shared the outcomes of a study looking at how a machine could help in diagnosing ADHD.

In collaboration with Newcastle University and funded by its Knowledge Transfer Partnership, the research involved developing a machine to assess patients for ADHD by analysing a person’s speech, facial and body movements.

Dr. Nair collaborated with Dr. Naqvi and PhD student C. Nash on the project.

It is hoped that by using machine learning, assessments will be more objective and without human bias.

The face has 468 landmarks for AI analysis and the machine uses Google’s facial action recording network to diagnose ADHD.

The study, which was done last year, found the machine was able to diagnose ADHD with 94% accuracy.

It also discovered something completely new. Patients with ADHD were found to have a higher rate of blinking than those without ADHD.

Dr Nair said: “The more the machine is used, the more intelligent it will become. It will learn the correct information and errors will reduce. Once it has a high level of accuracy over multiple subjects, it could be very beneficial.

“Humans can be subjective when doing an assessment, so the machine brings objectivity. It’s important to embrace new technology and this could really aid in the diagnosis of ADHD.”

Dr Nair is currently applying for more funding to do a larger study.

Once the technology is fully developed, the team hopes it can be installed in devices like mobile phones, making it more practical.

Dr Nair works as a consultant for adult ADHD services at CNTW. He is also a senior lecturer at Newcastle University. Newcastle University and CNTW are both part of Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP). NHIP is one of eight prestigious Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) across the UK, bringing together partners to deliver excellence in research, health education and patient care.

He is the local lead for the UK ADHD Network, as well as sitting on the research committee for CADDRA, the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.

He is involved in multiple trials as part of his academic work, including looking at the efficacy of different medications and the links between ADHD with conditions like bipolar and psychosis, and the use of remote technology in assessing cardiometabolic risk factors (conditions such as a heart attack, stroke or diabetes) in ADHD.

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