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Brain controlled app designed for children with ADHD

What is special about the new game, called NeuroPlus is that it is controlled by children using their brains. The game takes the form of a racing game. The format is relatively simple by modern video game standards, but the health benefits as children engage with the game are demonstrable.

NeuroPlus works on the basis of incoming signals from a wireless electroencephalogram headset being used by a child to control how fast a character moves. The game has been designed so that the greater the child’s concentration, then the faster the character moves and hence the more difficult the game becomes. The intention of the game from the developers is to encourage children, diagnosed with ADHD, to strengthen their focus and concentration whilst playing the game.

ADHD is characterized by problems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior which is not appropriate for a person’s age. People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.

Putting the game to the test

To test out the game, a study was conducted whereby 60 children with ADHD were placed into one of two groups through randomization. In one group, the children used a NeuroPlus game for around thirty minutes on three occasions each week. With the other group, the children undertook conventional exercises. The study results showed that the effect of the NeuroPlus were more effective compared with the conventional treatment. This was assessed using a questionnaire completed by each child’s parents (the established Conners test); this was coupled with the Quotient ADHD System, which is an objective test used to measure ADHD symptoms.

Commenting on the outcome, the developer, Jake Stauch who is the CEO of NeuroPlus, said: “What’s really important here is that we saw significant improvement not just in the Conners, but also in the objective test. And we have that strong data from both what parents are seeing and what the child is actually doing, which makes this strong and convincing for us to investigate this further.”

The success demonstrates how start-up technology companies especially those that specialize in digital health technology, can create products that are of interest to the healthcare sector. Other companies are making similar game-based applications to address ADHD, according to PharmaPhorum, such as the platform Akili Labs whose have developed a game called Project EVO.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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