Quietly doing homework is relatively routine for most 13 year olds. But Nate Katz has trouble concentrating. He has ADHD and keeping him on task, is a task in itself.
“I could not even read for five minutes sometimes, maybe not even two all the time,” Nate said.
Conventional therapies were hit and miss with Nate. So he volunteered for a breakthrough study at UC San Francisco. For a month, Nate played a video game for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
“He was calmer, a little less wound up when he was sticking to the protocol and able to attend to tasks for a longer period of time,” said Beth Katz, Nate’s mother.
The game is still being tested. Doctors call it a brain workout, targeting the part of the brain that helps kids focus.
“Nobody has used an iPad based or a screen based video game like training for kids with sensory processing and attention deficits,” said Dr. Elysa Marco, cognitive/behavioral child neurologist at UC San Francisco.
The results? More than one third of the patients with sensory processing disorder no longer have attention challenges.
“The idea is that a doctor would literally prescribe this game, as if they were prescribing medicine,” said Dr. Joaquin A. Anguera, professor of neurology and psychiatry of UC San Francisco.
So the good news for Nate, he gets more computer time. But the bad news, he does still have to finish his homework.
Researchers hope this video game is the first one approved by the FDA to treat ADHD. Dr. Marco says “our study is not about ‘video stimulation’, but is specifically showing that a well-designed brain training using a tablet can help attention. It is not about ‘screen time’ in general, but about using tablets/digital content in a directed and positive way.”
If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at www.ivanhoe.com.