The FDA Just Approved a Video Game to Treat ADHD

EndeavorRX shows some effectiveness about one-third of the time

There are millions of children who suffer from ADHD. This first-of-its-kind digital solution could provide the kind of relief children can relate to.

EndeavorRX game

"Take your software, it's good for you," is a phrase some children suffering from ADHD could hear in the future. On Monday, Akili announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted clearance to its video game, EndeavorRX, as a prescription treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

A first: This is the first time the FDA has approved a digital treatment, essentially a specialized video game, as an ADHD treatment for children between 8 and 12 years old.

Wait, a game? The FDA granted the clearance to "prescribe" EndeavorRx (at least the name sounds like a medicine) following a year-and-a-half-long study of 348 ADHD patents. After discontinuing ADHD medications for a few days, about 180 of them played the game 25 minutes a day, five days a week, for four weeks. According to Akili, the game is designed to "directly activate the networks in the brain responsible for cognitive function."

Did it work? Roughly a third of the test subjects showed measurable improvement in what's known as the TOVA scale (Tests of Variables of Attention). Approximately 10 percent of the test subjects reported some side effects, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, aggressiveness, or other emotional reaction (which all sound pretty common for extended video game play). The results of the study that led to EndeavorRX's approval was published in The Lancet in February.

The big but: While it's true that the FDA has given the go-ahead for doctors prescribing EndeavorRx as a possible ADHD treatment, the study that proves its efficacy was funded by Akili Interactive Labs, the company developing EndeavorRX. Even Alkili is recommending that the game be used as part of an ADHD treatment regimen that may include therapy, medication, and education programs.

When can we get it: Akili said in a release that EndeavorRX should be available for prescription soon.

Via: The Verge

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