Video Therapy Could Help Kids With ADHD

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Two universities are enrolling children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to see if a type of video therapy can essentially teach their brains to pay better attention, potentially minimizing the need for medications to treat the condition.

Researchers at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, are each recruiting 70 children with ADHD aged 7 to 10 years to take part in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving neurofeedback treatment.

The kids will have sensors attached to their head to measure brain waves, and they will be asked to focus on a spaceship on a computer screen. Most children with ADHD have excess low-frequency brain waves. The movement of the spaceship will be controlled by brainwave activity. In one scenario, if the child begins to lose focus, the craft will slow down.

The researchers hypothesize the activity may help train the brain to become better focused and increase the power of beta brain waves, which are associated with attention, alertness, and concentration. Children in the treatment group will receive the video therapy three times a week for three months.

“The brain gets better with exercise, the same way muscles do — it gets stronger,” study investigator L. Eugene Arnold, MD, a child psychiatrist at Ohio State, said in a statement. “And we emphasize this with the children — it’s like going through fitness training.”

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Video Therapy Could Help Kids With ADHD

In the U.S. alone, more than $100 billion a year is spent treating the more than 6 million children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

An international team, led by researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, recently received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to examine whether training of specific brain wave frequencies is an effective treatment for relieving ADHD symptoms and reducing the need for ongoing medication in these children.

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