Why the FDA Authorized a Video Game—Yes, a Video Game! as an Official Therapy for ADHD

Video Game! as an Official Therapy for ADHD

On June 15th, 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made history by approving a video game as an official treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This marks the first time that the FDA has approved a video game as a medical treatment, and it can potentially change how ADHD is treated.

The game in question is called Endeavor Rx, developed by Akili Interactive Labs. The game is designed to improve attention and reduce impulsive behavior in children aged 8-12 with ADHD. It results from years of research and development, and it has undergone rigorous clinical trials to prove its effectiveness.

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So, why did the FDA approve a video game as a treatment for ADHD? The answer lies in the unique way that Endeavor Rx works. The game is designed to stimulate specific neural pathways in the brain that are responsible for attention and impulse control. By playing the game, children with ADHD can improve their ability to focus and control their behavior.

Endeavor Rx is not a typical video game. It is a prescription-only treatment that a healthcare provider supervises. Children play the game on a tablet or smartphone for 25 minutes a day, five days a week, for four weeks.

The game is personalized for each child, with difficulty levels that adjust based on the child’s performance. The game also provides feedback to healthcare providers, who can use the data to track the child’s progress.

The clinical trials for Endeavor Rx were impressive. In one study, children who played the game showed significantly improved attention and impulse control compared to children who played a control game.

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The improvements were seen after just four weeks of playing the game and were still present a month later. The results were so promising that the FDA granted the game “De Novo” clearance, a special regulatory pathway for new types of medical devices with no equivalent on the market.

The approval of EndeavorRx is a significant milestone in the treatment of ADHD. ADHD is a common disorder that affects about 6.1 million children in the United States. The current treatment options for ADHD include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, but these treatments do not work for everyone.

Approving a video game as a medical treatment also reflects a shift in how we think about healthcare. Digital therapeutics, or software-based treatments, are becoming more common as technology advances.

These treatments have the potential to be more accessible and affordable than traditional treatments, and they can be personalized to the individual. As we continue to explore the possibilities of digital therapeutics, we may see more video games and other software-based treatments being approved by regulatory agencies.

In conclusion, the FDA’s approval of EndeavorRx as a treatment for ADHD significantly develops healthcare. It represents a new approach to treating ADHD and a shift toward digital therapeutics.

As we continue to explore the possibilities of video games and other software-based treatments, we may see more innovative treatments being approved by regulatory agencies. The future of healthcare is exciting, and video games are just the beginning.

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