Video games are widely known to depict many types of images ranging from good to bad. Parents are often hesitant to allow their kids increased exposure to video games, primarily due to the risk of them getting addicted.
Now the tables have turned and imagine being prescribed a video game instead of medications via a pill or syringe! This cutting-edge discovery has recently been circulating in the headlines and as a scientist, I couldn’t be more fascinated. EndeavorRx invented by the Boston-based tech firm Akili Interactive is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved video game prescribed for kids ages 8-12 years with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed in children who experience extreme difficulty paying attention, adversely impacting their daily activities. EndeavorRx is programmed to target the human brain's prefrontal cortex, which is the site of cognitive functioning. Since doctors have to prescribe it, the parents of the child receive the activation link beforehand.
Video games have not been depicted as an ideal way to keep kids busy. However, a recent study elucidated a positive aspect of video games in improving mental health. Research shows that although video games are highly deemed enjoyable activities by people of all ages, they also significantly enhance a person’s cognitive abilities.
EndeavorRx is an app-based game developed by a group of neuroscientists, notably Adam Gazzaley, the co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive. This innovative discovery truly seeks to emphasize the fact that technology combined with science can lead to pivotal advances in the field of healthcare and beyond.
One of the intricate points of this highly enriched video game is that it is not a spectator sport! EndeavorRx has been designed to keep ADHD children in mind. The goal is to maximize the difficulty after reaching certain levels to stimulate rapid strides in attention spans alongside memory and perception. In conjunction, the video game also takes into account assessing the children’s ability to multi-task and to remain focused on the specific task despite the countless distractions that come their way. The striking difference between EndeavorRx and conventional video games lies in the idea that in the usual video games, players begin at level one and have to complete the same activity to progress onto the next level. However, the levels of EndeavorRx vary from player to player based upon their cognitive ability.
According to neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley, Akili Interactive is now steering its initiatives toward expanding the age group of patients who can be prescribed EndeavorRx. Primarily due to the fact that kids are not the only group of people who suffer from ADHD. ADHD can also be diagnosed in seniors as well. One point to note is that attention deficits also appear as a symptom in a plethora of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Our brain is constantly evolving and we undergo a process called neuroplasticity which refers to the rewiring of our neural networks throughout life that is further stimulated via our response to experience.
EndeavorRx is the stepping stone to the revolutionary field of Digital Medicine which is the union of both technology and medicine. However, this is not implied to completely replace the use of medications, but rather a broadened form of therapy to be used in patients suffering from ADHD.
If you have a child with ADHD or know of anyone who has a child with ADHD, please do take the time to explore EndeavorRx and discuss it with your child’s pediatrician. You never know what miracles EndeavorRx may lead to in terms of treating the symptoms associated with ADHD!
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