How can new technology like brain-mapping help to improve our healthcare?
Let us have a look at the attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Different types of brain dysfunction may cause the same behavioural and cognitive problems. For example a child that is being extremely inattentive, hyperactive, very impulsive and is showing poor results at school, could be diagnosed with the attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However recent research showed that all these symptoms could be explained by many different brain dysfunctions, and thus would require completely different measures. And whereas for one child a dopamine re-uptake inhibitor (such as Ritalin) could work, for others a medication using a noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitor would be better. The patient could also respond well to neurofeedback or to transcranial direct current stimulation.
So how can we know what treatment is best for which child if they all show the same symptoms?
What we need is a way to distinguish between the sources of different brain dysfunctions. Recent research showed specific patterns in the electrical activity of the brain and proved that these patterns could provide reliable brain markers of normal brain functioning and also show brain dysfunctions. In figure 1. you can see an example of three very distinctive EEG frequency rhythms with different topographical distributions for three ADHD subtypes who probably have many symptoms in common, but require a completely different treatment when we look at their brain-activity.
J. D. Kropotov, M. Pąchalska and A. Mueller (2014)
New neurotechnologies for the diagnosis and modulation of brain dysfunction health psychology report · volume 4