Videogame to treat ADHD available by prescription

EndeavorRx is a first-person racing videogame designed to help children with ADHD and this summer, the FDA approved it as a "prescription treatment." Meanwhile, other researchers are developing videogames that can help lift depression and reduce anxiety by interrupting the feedback loops of negativity and fear.

“It’s a well-known fact that so many mobile games use all sorts of psychological tricks to get people to give them money,” Harvard psychology postdoc Chelsey Wilks told IEEE Spectrum. “So we wanted to use the same exact psychological tricks, but to trick [users] into doing something that’s good for them.”

From IEEE Spectrum:

Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs, maker of [EndeavorRx], says its racer was originally licensed from the lab of Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. The company touts four peer-reviewed studies (in PLOS One, The Lancet Digital Health, The Journal of Autism, and Developmental Disorders) as well as one paper in process as support for its claims that EndeavorRx significantly improves clinical markers of attention in patients with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

“EndeavorRx looks and feels like a traditional game, but it’s very different,” says Matt Omernick, Akili cofounder and the company’s chief creative officer. “EndeavorRx uses a video-game experience to present specific sensory stimuli and simultaneous motor challenges designed to target and activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain.... As a child progresses in game play, the technology is continuously measuring their performance and using adaptive algorithms to adjust the difficulty and personalize the treatment experience for each individual.”

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Listen: "My Life As A Weapon" is a power pop anthem about ADHD and Hawkeye from the Avengers

When I'm not writing here on BoingBoing (or anywhere else, for that matter), I also play guitar and sing in a rock band called The Roland High Life. Today we announced our new record, Songs About Comic Books and Mid-30s Malaise, and released the first single, which is kind of a Cars / Green Day mashup about ADHD and Hawkeye from the Avengers called "My Life as a Weapon."

I'm pretty proud of the work we did on this, considering that we wrote, engineered, and recorded it all by ourselves in our moms' basements (in fitting with the album theme) over just 2 weekends.

You can watch the lyric video above, or listen to it on your preferred music service.

"Songs About Comic Books and Mid-30s Malaise" by the Roland High Life

Image: Pat Loika / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

NRA president Ollie North partially blames school shootings on Ritalin

On Fox News Sunday, the National Rifle Association's incoming president Oliver North partially blamed the increase in school shootings on the ADHD medication Ritalin:

"The problem that we've got is, we're trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease, and the disease in this case isn't the Second Amendment; the disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence. They've been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they're young teenagers in most cases, and they've come through a culture where violence is commonplace. Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now, I am certainly not a doctor, I'm a Marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening."

Over at CNN, psychology professor George DuPaul of Lehigh University counters North's bullshit:

"No, there is no evidence of that. In fact, if anything, there's stronger evidence that Ritalin and other medications that are used to treat ADHD would reduce violence and aggressive behavior."

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A smartphone-shaped fidget-gadget to soothe your instinctive need for stimulus

Viennese artist Klemens Schillinger created these "Substitute Phones" as fidget toys with kinetic worry-beads that you can stroke and fondle when your conditioned reflex to reach for a distraction rectangle kicks in; the beads are set in channels that allow you to replicate smart-phone gestures like unlock, swipe right, and pinch-zoom. (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

The Bathgate Ratchet, a clicky, machined fidget-toy that works like a socket wrench

For the past year, sculptor machinist Chris Bathgate has been designing a series of handheld, kinetic fidget toys, starting with a "slider" and then a top, a worry stone, a spinner, and a netsuke. Read the rest

Embrace chaos by making your own double pendulum fidget spinner

If the novelty of holding an elaborate bearing (possibly connected to some motion-sensitive LEDs) is wearing thin, have no fear: with a 3D printer and a little ingenuity, you can make your own double-pendulum fidget spinner, a chaotic system that is intensely sensitive to initial conditions, such that it becomes very hard to predict the motion of the pendulum when you set it to swinging. Read the rest

Fidget spinners, a brief video history

"Engaging in fine motor activity may assist students with ADHD in resisting the pull of distraction."

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