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While there are a number of drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they can have some pretty serious side effects. Researchers in Singapore at the country’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Duke-NUS (National University of Singapore) Medical School, and A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), have developed a system that combines neuromonitoring with video games to help kids improve their ADHD symptoms. Neeuro Pte Ltd. is a local company that has been spun off to commercialize the technology.
So far, a randomized controlled trial of the prototype of the technology was successfully conducted in the lab, but now the more mature version of the technology is being offered to a select group of kids to take home.
The system consists of Neeuro’s electroencephalography “SenzeBand” along with a Samsung tablet. The child simply puts on the band and fires up a video game called CogoLand. The system can track the mental focus that the child is currently experiencing, and can adjust the gameplay, as well as bring up prompts accordingly.
In the above mentioned study, children who underwent training using the system showed improvements in brain areas dedicated to attention and task-orientation, as was confirmed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
The new study, in children who are being treated by Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health and who will continue receiving their regular therapy, will evaluate the longer term effects of the new therapy under normal at-home conditions.
“Our technology can accurately quantify a person’s attention level in real-time using a machine learning algorithm and, from there, develop a unique patented personalised training programme using a feed-forward concept for cognitive training,” said Professor Guan Cuntai, technical lead of the system and scientific advisor to Neeuro. “Further improvements have been made in recent iterations by capitalising on the latest deep learning approaches with our large dataset.”
Related study in PLOS ONE: A randomized controlled trial of a brain-computer interface based attention training program for ADHD