February 24, 2024

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Big Data to be Used in ADHD Studies in New Zealand

Newly funded research in New Zealand will examine over 10,000 brain scans to identify the key brain processes underlying Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with the overall aim of developing a reliable ‘biomarker’ to detect cognitive differences associated with the disorder.

Around 5% of New Zealand children have ADHD, a common neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect educational and employment attainment later in life. ADHD is also the most frequent diagnosis given to Māori children at mental health services. Yet, currently, there are no reliable biomarkers for the cognitive differences associated with ADHD, making it difficult to detect the disorder early as well as to assess treatment effectiveness and progress.

Now, with a research grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), a University of Otago psychology lecturer plans to address this issue by building a neuroimaging model that can predict ADHD-related cognitive deficits in children, by looking at detailed MRI brain scans.

ADHD currently is what clinicians can observe from the child, said the professor. Over the next three years, his team hopes to capture the characteristics of the disorder from a biological perspective. In the long run, having highly reliable and predictive biomarkers for cognitive differences in ADHD can be a game-changer, he added.

The team will be using a large dataset from more than 10,000 children from the United States (both with and without ADHD). This dataset includes brain images of various types, reflecting children’s brain activity, connectivity and anatomy, as well as children’s cognitive abilities based on various tasks.

His team will first examine the cognitive differences that occur in children diagnosed with ADHD (predetermined through cognition tests with participants). They will then apply specially designed machine-learning algorithms to accurately match up the brain images in the dataset with these cognitive differences. This will result in a brain-based ‘predictive score’ for each child in the dataset, that reflects their risk of developing ADHD-related cognitive deficits.

This brain-based predictive approach will then be tested for its applicability to New Zealand children who have been formally diagnosed with ADHD. Functional and structural MRI scans of participants in Dunedin will be taken, and the resulting scores matched against each child’s cognitive differences.

The availability of such big data along with modern computation techniques, such as machine learning, is the most exciting advances in psychiatry of our time and will help generate a novel platform for neuroimaging and psychiatry, said the professor. In future, one of the benefits of a reliable biomarker would be in testing the efficacy of novel treatments that target cognitive functions. The biomarkers will help researchers see if treatments affect cognitive areas of the brain, he added.

In the longer term, medical experts in New Zealand and elsewhere may potentially use the biomarker to aid in the diagnosis, early detection, and management of ADHD. In the mental health world, people do not usually use neuroimaging as a predictive tool. So, their team is aiming to start this trend, and it has only made possible by the recent availability of large-scale brain data and by the advances in machine learning.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, digital transformation efforts in New Zealand’s healthcare sector continues to make waves amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports say. Ten months after the Health and Disability System Review was released in June 2020, it looks like its recommendations for overhauling the health system will be enacted and digital transformation will be a major component of the changes.

Minister of Health Andrew Little says the government will announce the new structure in April, describing it as the “blueprint for how the system will work in the future”. Digital technologies are one of five “key shifts” taking place. Greater innovation and digital options will see New Zealanders being able to access virtual diagnostic service, access primary care, and have better access to specialist care wherever they live.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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