If I told you that a company which has developed a new treatment program for ADHD sufferers is certain to be one of the companies to watch in 2013 and beyond, would you believe me? Would you think it was the manufacturer of a new drug? Wrong! Could it be an importer of an exotic herb from the African forest? Wrong again!
1stQuestion – Which lobby is investing in this market?
One company has recently grabbed the headlines because it has received a sizable grant of $10 million to carry out clinical studies on a very large scale to determine whether their program could really help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The trials have already started inSingaporeand theUSA.
When you realize what this type of treatment is, you will have a light bulb moment and realize that this large sum of money is peanuts in comparison to the potential this has for the gaming industry.
So, it must be a video game or something to do with the gaming industry? Right! So, what is this, you may ask? Let me explain and put you out of your misery.
2ndQuestion – Why is inattention worth a fortune?
We all know that the main problem for ADHD kids is that they are distracted and have real problems in focusing and paying attention and this will plague them for the rest of their lives. As many as 60% of kids with ADHD will have the same challenges and issues in adulthood.
We know that the neural pathways in the ADHD brain are often defective and they can be compared to a faulty cell phone signal. The message does not get through and there is also considerable interference from incoming sensory messages in the form of sounds and other sensations which are not filtered out. This combination often makes communication impossible. Solve this problem and you will make a fortune!
3rd Question – How was the research carried out?
Research into this area is fascinating and is based on running sessions on a brain-computer interface for ADHD children who were not on medication or any other type of treatment. This particular experiment ‘A Brain-Computer Interface Based Attention Training Program for Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ was conducted by researchers at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, and the Duke-National University Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore. As a result of this research, the above mentioned company started to develop their program.
In this experiment the children were connected up to a computer game with EEG ( electro- encephalography ) sensors which can monitor brain activity. As the children play the game, they notice that if they are distracted or cannot focus, the game grinds to a halt and proceeds at a snail’s pace.
Once they start to pay attention, the whole scenario changes and they can play the game really fast and get points for doing so. After about eight weekly sessions, the researchers noted that typical symptoms such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity were showing significant improvement. They were gaining better control of their focus and attention spans and that was a considerable achievement.
4th Question- Can the brain be trained to improve its neural pathways?
This research, together with countless other experiments in biofeedback and neurofeedback demonstrates four important facts:-
- the brain can be trained to improve its neural connections
- new neural pathways are created
- children adore video games so this is an ideal medium in which to carry out the training.
- the gaming industry is a powerful and rich lobby and can afford to finance extensive research.
5th Question – What is the outlook for ADHD treatment?
This sort of treatment for ADHD is not entirely new as there have been numerous experiments. A well known ADHD expert ( Dr. David Rabiner of Duke University) has remarked that there are mixed results and also that the sessions have proved to be very expensive. In addition the research base is not very wide. A patient can pay up to $3,000 for 40 one hour sessions.
The digital brain health market is probably set to grow at a phenomenal rate over the next decade. But more research needs to be done and the clinical trials results being carried out will be very interesting to watch.
The potential for this market is enormous if it could be shown that this was a really effective and safe way of helping children to manage their ADHD.
In the meantime, if you are considering what type of treatment is best for your ADHD child you may want to look at behavior therapy and also alternatives to psychostimulant drugs which are well tried and tested.
Robert Locke MBE is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD and related child health problems. You can visit this page on ADHD natural treatment to find out more.
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