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The Motor Function Neurological Assessment (MFNU) as an indicator of motor function problems in boys with ADHD

Behavioral and Brain Functions
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-22
  • Research
  • Medicine


Background The paper presents the Motor Function Neurological Assessment (MFNU), as a tool for identifying typical motor function problems in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The study investigated motor functions in boys diagnosed with Hyperkinetic Disorder (HKD, F.90.0). HKD corresponds to the ADHD-combined (ADHD-C) diagnosis in the DSM-IV. The paper addresses the ability of the instrument to discriminate between non-medicated boys with HKD and a control group consisting of normal non-referred boys without any clinical significant ADHD symptoms. Methods 25 drug-naïve boys, aged 8–12 years and recently diagnosed as HKD F90.0, were compared with 27 controls, all boys in the same age range, on 17 MFNU subtests, and with a 'Total score' parameter. Results On the individual subtests 80–96% (median 88%) of the ADHD group showed 'moderate' to 'severe' problems, compared to 0–44% (median 14.8%) within the control group. The percentage of 'severe problems' ranged from 44–84%, (median 64%) in the ADHD group, and 0–44% (median 0%) in the control group. The highly significant differences found between the groups on all subtests, and on the Total score scores, indicated that the MFNU had a high discriminative power when children with ADHD and normal controls were compared. The Total score parameter seemed to be a meaningful discriminator of a common underlying factor of the 17 subtests used in the study. Conclusion The study confirms our clinical findings that the MFNU measures a consistent pattern of motor function problems in children with HKD, and that these problems are rarely represented in individuals without ADHD. Further research is needed to investigate to what extent the MFNU taps motor problems that are truly specific to ADHD, in contrast to motor problems common to children with DCD or other clinical problems.

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