The New York Times reported today that a new video game is being designed by Akili Interactive Labs to help children with ADHD improve their attention and reduce impulsivity. While there have been previous “brain training” software designed to help combat ADHD, this video game is unique in that the creators intend to seek Food and Drug Administration approval for doctors to prescribe the game as tool to help children control ADHD just like a more traditional medication.
The game, entitled Project: EVO is designed for tablets and features an avatar who travels down a river and is controlled by tilting the tablet side to side. The challenges include grabbing the bluebirds that pop up, avoiding the red birds and grabbing power stations while avoiding the river bank.
The idea behind the concept of brain training games children can improve their cognitive functions, such as attention spans and impulsivity, by performing repetitive exercise that slowly increase in difficulty. The idea is popular with researchers and parents who are concerned about the long term effects of treating ADHD with stimulant medication such as amphetamine and methylphenidate, according to the article.
The article also notes the opposition to the idea of using video games to try and reduce the effects of ADHD, and notes that there is research that suggests that too many hours in front of a screen can worsen ADHD symptoms. However, a pilot study released in October indicated that children with ADHD who played the game for half an hour, five times a week for a month showed significant improvement on different tests which measured attention.
Project: EVO has received a great deal of attention from major pharmaceutical backers and has raised over $10 million, reports an article published on Medical Daily.