Authorities have given the go-ahead to a remarkable new technology, which uses an advanced scanning technique to identify attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

With a marked upturn in prescriptions for ADHD in the US over the last decade, the scanning technology may have been approved at the perfect time. The new test is called a Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System; it measures the ratio of theta to beta brain waves in children. A statement from the US Food and Drug Administration says; "The theta/beta ratio has been shown to be higher in children and adolescents with ADHD than in children without it.”

"Diagnosing ADHD is a multistep process based on a complete medical and psychiatric exam," warns Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “the NEBA System along with other clinical information may help health care providers more accurately determine if ADHD is the cause of a behavioural problem."

The Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid System was created by NEBA Health in the US after seven years of research and development.

A study in the journal Pediatrics last year found a 46 per cent rise in ADHD prescriptions from 2002 to 2010.