Should You Get an MRI?

An expert weighs in
ADHD expert Larry Silver, MD

In our search for answers and solutions, we often are faced with choices outside our fields of experience or expertise. Brain scanning is a newer technology that parents often encounter. It is costly so it’s important to understand what we’re getting for the money. Does it make sense to get an MRI? Here’s what ADHD expert Larry Silver, MD has to say:

No, it doesn’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.

Is Brain Imaging a Good Diagnostic Tool?
Can brain imaging help in diagnosing my daughter? We think she has ADHD, and the doctor recommended an MRI. Does this make sense?