ADHD News & Research

Study: Video-Game Therapy Improves Attention for Children with ADHD and Autism

Akili Interactive’s new therapeutic video game delivers symptom improvement to highly engaged children with ADHD and ASD, according to a new study.

Akili Interactive, a prescription digital medicine company, has designed a therapeutic video game called Project Evo that aims to improve cognitive deficits in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A small study1 published last month in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders suggests that the app-based Project Evo does effectively and safely target multi-tasking through game play that engages patients and maintains their interest throughout a four-week treatment cycle.

In the study, evaluated by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 19 children with ASD and co-occurring ADHD were given either the Project Evo treatment or an educational activity involving pattern recognition. The results suggest that the video game’s multi-tasking components may improve cognitive control: Children stuck with the treatment protocol by engaging for 95 percent or more of the recommended sessions. In addition, participants and their parents reported an improved ability to pay attention, and improved attention reflected higher scores in the TOVA API, an FDA-cleared objective measure of attention.

Though small, this study suggests that multi-tasking treatment is feasible and potentially effective for treating cognitive control impairments in children with ADHD and ASD. Benjamin E. Yerys, PhD, of the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author on the study confirms receiving a partial salary from Akili to carry out this study.

Footnotes

Benjamin E. Yerys, Jennifer R. Bertollo, Lauren Kenworthy, Geraldine Dawson, Elysa J. Marco, Robert T. Schultz, Linmarie Sikich. “Pilot Study of a Novel Interactive Digital Treatment to Improve Cognitive Control in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occurring ADHD Symptoms” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (December 2018). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10803-018-3856-7 

Updated on May 16, 2019

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