The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the first video game-based treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD.
EndeavorRX, a prescription-only video game was approved Monday and is aimed at children between the ages of eight and twelve with certain types of ADHD. It will be used alongside other treatments, such as therapy, medication, and educational programs.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopment disorder which is usually diagnosed first in children and can last into adulthood. According to KidsHealth.org, If ADHD is not treated, it can be hard for kids to succeed. This may lead to low self-esteem, depression, oppositional behavior, school failure, risk-taking behavior, or family conflict. Also, It's not clear what causes the brain differences of ADHD. There's strong evidence that ADHD is mostly inherited. Many kids who have ADHD have a parent or relative with it. ADHD is not caused by too much screen time, poor parenting, or eating too much sugar. ADHD can improve when kids get treatment, eat healthy food, get enough sleep and exercise, and have supportive parents who know how to respond to ADHD.
Approximately 4 million children from the ages of 6 to 11 are affected by ADHD, the symptoms of ADHD include difficulty staying focused, paying attention, and controlling behavior.
Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, released a statement on the video game:
"The EndeavorRx device offers a non-drug option for improving symptoms associated with ADHD in children and is an important example of the growing field of digital therapy and digital therapeutics,"
The video game, which can be downloaded as an app to a mobile device, was authorized for marketing after five clinical studies were reviewed by the FDA that held a controlled population of more than 600 children.
However, the agency noted that there were some negative results reported among the children. Negative results including frustration, headache, dizziness, emotional reaction and aggression. But, those reports noted no "serious" effects occurred.
The game itself allows children to steer an avatar through a course littered with obstacles, collecting points to earn rewards. Akili, the company/creator of EndeavorRx, has said that children should play the game for 30 minutes per day, five days a week. All of this over a one month treatment course cycle. One representative for Akili added that the game was shown to improve attention functions in the controlled population.