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2016-04-14

Positive Study Results on Software to Address ADHD Symptoms

to Address ADHD Symptoms

SAN FRANCISCO, 2016-04-14 18:00 CEST (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
Researchers from Posit Science Corporation announced results from an initial
study of its brain exercises used by children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The group of children completing 30 hours of
the Posit Science brain exercises showed steady and significant improvements on
the study’s primary outcome measure, the ADHD rating scale (RS IV, a
parent-reported symptom severity measure), over the course of the six-month
study period and in the six-month post-study follow-up. The results were
significant both against baseline (within group) and against the control group,
which engaged in 30 hours of video game play. Improvements were also noted on
secondary measures. The significance of these findings were discussed today in
Washington, DC, at the World Bank’s Global Mental Health Summit, by lead
investigator Dr. Jyoti Mishra. The results were published this week in the
journal Translational Psychiatry, published by Nature.

“These initial study results are exciting for several reasons,” said Dr.
Mishra, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of
California San Francisco, and scientist affiliate at the Brain Plasticity
Institute of Posit Science Corporation. “The data indicates that it is feasible
to address ADHD with a non-pharmaceutical intervention, that positive
behavioral and cognitive outcomes can be obtained, that brain exercises
specifically designed for ADHD outperformed the video games used as an active
control, and that this type of new digital therapy can be deployed in
low-to-middle income homes with remote monitoring.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 10 percent
of children are diagnosed with ADHD. Such children display poor performance in
everyday activities requiring attention, memory and goal management skills, and
are at higher risk for failure (and dropout) at school, addiction, criminality
and other negative quality-of-life outcomes.

The paper’s authors note that stimulant medications are the standard of care.
Although they show high efficacy in the short term (2-3 months), limitations
from medications include minimal long-term benefit, non-specific amplification
of attention to both important and unimportant information, and accumulation of
drug-related side effects.

The 31-person, double-blind, randomized controlled trial was conducted under
the supervision of Dr. Rajesh Sagar, child psychiatry expert at the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. The mean age of participants
was 12 years, and 15 of the 31 children were on medication before and during
the study. Through randomization, 10 children were assigned to a control group
using video games and 21 were assigned to the novel intervention of
computerized brain exercises developed at Posit Science. Children engaged in
the intervention or control activity for a total of 30 hours over a period that
extended as long as six months (at a frequency of 3-5 times per week and 30
minutes per session). A majority (52%) of children completely adhered to the
30-hour requirement for brain exercises, while the remainder partially adhered,
including ten children who completed less than half of the 30 hour training
(1-13 hours, mean 4.5± 3.6 hours).

In addition to comparing the brain exercise intervention group against an
active (video game) control, researchers compared the two groups to an
additional group of 30 healthy children, without ADHD, drawn from the local
community in New Delhi. Notably, at the six-month follow-up evaluations, there
was no significant difference on the primary outcome measure between the
healthy group and the group that had completed the brain exercises, suggesting
renormalization of behaviors. The group who completed the brain exercises (as
compared to the control group) had effects that were moderate in size and
clinically significant both after training and at the six-month follow-up.

Four secondary cognitive measures were also used. The brain exercise group
significantly improved, as compared to the control, on both the response
inhibition measure and Stroop interference, a measure of executive function. A
trend toward improvement, which did not reach significance, was noted on the
two other secondary measures: sustained attention and short-term memory span.
An additional secondary measure, CGI, a generic measure of mental illness not
specific to ADHD, was not found to be significantly affected by the
intervention.

The brain exercises took a novel approach by focusing on the suppression of
distractors (i.e., background noise) as part of improving focus and attention,
in addition to challenging the user to attend to a target signal, which
progressively becomes more difficult to discriminate. While some of the
exercises were drawn from attention exercises currently included in BrainHQ
(the commercially available online subscription exercise service from Posit
Science), other brain exercises were specifically developed for this trial
based on prior research.

“This is an important step in our research and development program aimed at
bringing medicine-grade digital therapeutics to market, as a separate product
line from our BrainHQ exercises for healthy people of all ages,” said Dr. Henry
Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science. “This is the first time software has been shown
to be effective as a digital therapeutic, with clinically significant and
persistent effects, in reducing reported behavioral symptoms of children with
ADHD. Of course, additional research is both required and warranted before
commercial distribution of new therapeutic offerings.”

Posit Science exercises and assessments have been shown to have benefits in
some 120 peer-reviewed journal articles. Its current flagship commercial
offering is BrainHQ, an online (and in-app) subscription service available to
the public, with dozens of exercises shown in prior studies to improve standard
measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory, executive function), as
well as to generalize to gains in real-world measures and activities (e.g.,
health, mood, IADLs, driving, balance, gait, hearing). Posit Science sells both
directly to consumers and through distribution partnerships with recognized
global brands. Posit Science also has established research alliances with
university-based researchers, foundations, government agencies, pharma and
insurance companies. More information at www.BrainHQ.com

Contact:
Jeff Zimman, Co-Founder
jeff.zimman@positscience.com
415-394-3110
Posit Science
160 Pine St., Suite 200 San Francisco, CA 94111

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