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American FDA Approves Video Game as ADHD Treatment, Makes it Available as a Prescription

With debates around the nature of video games’ influence on psyches and behavior usually being surrounded with violence-related claims, it is certainly refreshing to see something like this happening. The American FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has recently permitted marketing of the first specifically-developed video game designed with the intention of serving as a treatment for ADHD. Under the slogan “it’s time to play your medicine”, the game, EndeavorRx (AKL-T01), is being marketed for children between the ages of eight and 12. It was designed to “to directly target and activate neural systems through the presentation of sensory stimuli and motor challenges to improve cognitive functioning.”

The FDA has issued this permit on the basis of five different studies involving more than 600 children diagnosed with ADHD, where they were encouraged to play this particular video game. Following the test results, a measurable decrease or even dissipation of attention deficit levels in a number of ADHD-related benchmarks were seen. However, not all is green on this side of the pasture: the FDA in its approval also mentioned some verifiable, but not serious, adverse effects after the children were exposed to the EndeavorRx-based therapy, such as frustration, headache, dizziness, emotional reaction, and aggression. The FDA themselves say that the clinical trial results do not suggest this videogame prescription could be an alternative to ADHD drug-specific prescriptions, however. But it could be a first step between an ADHD diagnosis and drug-based treatments. Check out a video of the game after the break.

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