Jan 9, 2019
Ever hear of prescription digital medicine? Who ever heard of doctors and other therapists prescribing the playing of therapeutic video games? Well that is now a reality for children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and it may soon be used for other patients as well.
Pediatricians at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Autism Research collaborated with the prescription digital medicine company Akili Interactive to study the effectiveness of the company’s AKL-T02 instrument via an action video game experience designed to improve the childrens’ attention, task completion, and memory.
The so-called Project: EVO studied a group of 19 children age 9-13 years diagnosed with both autism and attention deficit and exposed them to both the digital medicine and control therapy. This group was selected since children with both autism and ADHD tend to respond poorly to conventional drug therapy used for ADHD alone.
Not suprisingly, the kids embraced the video game experience completing more than 95% of the treatment sessions. This preliminary study revealed that the treated children with both autism and ADHD will focus on the high tech therapy and it improved their attention and focus while reducing their distractibility.
Larger studies will follow, but Akili Interactive is already developing other prescriptive digital medicines, ATL-T03 and ATL-T04 for adult patients with depression to improve their memory, attention, executive function, and emotional processing. Why are the products “by prescription?” I’d guess: in order to qualify for health insurance coverage!
autism #autismspectrumdisorder #ADHD #attentiondeficit #digitalmedicine
Benjamin E. Yerys, Jennifer R. Bertollo, Lauren Kenworthy, Geraldine Dawson, Elysa J. Marco, Robert T. Schultz, Linmarie Sikich. Brief Report: Pilot Study of a Novel Interactive Digital Treatment to Improve Cognitive Control in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occurring ADHD Symptoms. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2018; DOI: 10.1007/s10803-018-3856-7