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Study To Use Interactive Games to Treat ADHD

September 16th 2009

A study seeks to determine if skills-based interactive games can help four- and five-year olds battle attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
By Anelise Quemerais

A study by New York City’s Queens College seeks to determine if skills-based interactive games can help four- and five-year olds with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) learn to change their behavior, according to a college press release.

Named Training Executive, Attention and Motor Skills (TEAMS), the program seeks to improve brain function among children by exposing them to games that require memory and motor control.

"Because the brain is more 'plastic' or malleable in response to stimuli during childhood, it has the ability to strengthen and rewire itself," said Jeffrey Halperin, director of TEAMS, according to the press release. "With the right kind of activities—those that are fun and don't rely on adult praise or reward—we believe these youngsters can retrain their brains and regulate their own behavior.

TEAMS, funded by a two-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, is designed to enhance brain activity without the use of medication. The Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory at Queens College will receive and additional three years of funding of initial study results prove promising.

 "Currently available treatments provide short-term, symptomatic relief for AD/HD, but limited, if any, long-term benefits," said Halperin. "We are hopeful that the TEAMS treatment, which relies on games, an enriched environment and physical exercises, will yield lasting cognitive and behavioral improvements."

The Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory is recruiting four- and five-year olds who demonstrate symptoms of ADHD and are not taking medication.