Singapore researchers and local tech startup launch pilot to help children with ADHD using BCI tech

The home-based pilot program will see 20 children each receive a take-home kit that includes […]

The home-based pilot program will see 20 children each receive a take-home kit that includes Neeuro’s brainwave-reading SenzeBand and a Samsung tablet with the preloaded CogoLand game.
A personalized, interactive brain-training game will soon be helping children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) improve their attention span. The advantage of this technology is that that children with ADHD can participate in this program from home. A pilot run for the home-based program will be launched for 20 children, aged 6-12 years, who are currently receiving treatment for ADHD at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).
Called Cogoland, the game was developed through a decade’s worth of extensive research, utilizing Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology that incorporates machine-learning algorithms to personalize attention training, with the hope of complementing mainstay ADHD treatment. The use of CogoLand to complement ADHD treatment is the result of a collaboration between IMH, Duke-NUS Medical School and A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R). Neeuro Pte Ltd, a local tech startup and spinoff from A*STAR, is the current sole licensee of the technology.
This non-invasive ADHD intervention program was the subject of a large scale randomized clinical trial funded by the National Medical Research Council, involving 172 children with ADHD in Singapore.
The homebased pilot program will see the 20 children each receive a take-home kit that includes Neeuro’s brainwave-reading SenzeBand and a Samsung tablet with the preloaded CogoLand game, which they will use following a prescribed regimen for the duration of the program. This approach is intended to be a complement and/or supplement to conventional ADHD treatment.
In the US, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted a small feasibility study, which suggested that Project: Evo, the digital medicine developed by Akili Interactive Labs that is delivered via a video game, continually engaged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and reduced their ADHD symptoms, according to a MobiHealth news report in January 2019.
Another study that was also conducted in Singapore in 2018, observed a change in the brain networking and behavior of boys receiving a video game-based treatment for ADHD. The study was conducted as part of a larger controlled investigation of boys with ADHD. It compared an intervention group of 18 participants (mean age 9 years) to a control arm of 11 participants (mean age 9.45 years).
The researchers found that the intervention helped facilitate brain maturation and development among the participants, and increased communication between the areas of the brain that orient to external stimuli and those associated with self-related processes such as daydreaming.
“While medication and behavioral therapy are effective in treating symptoms of ADHD in children, some parents are also keen to explore other approaches that can help their children to improve their concentration. After a decade of collaborative work, our team is very excited to pilot this home-based brain-training game which parents can use to help their children regulate themselves,” said Dr. Lim Choon Guan, Deputy Chief of the Department of Developmental Psychiatry at IMH in a statement.
Dr. Alvin Chan, CEO and Co-Founder of Neeuro, commented: “At Neeuro, our aim is to utilize technology to enable positive change in the neurological agility and fitness of our users. We are privileged to be working with institutions such as IMH, Duke-NUS and A*STAR, in conjunction with our hardware partner Samsung, to explore the use of cutting-edge technology in order to achieve this aim.
It is our hope that this trial paves the way to enable the progressive development of new complementary options that will bring about positive outcomes for the millions of children afflicted with ADHD globally, especially those in Singapore.”
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