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Akili Interactive Develops ‘Prescription Video games’ for ADHD and Other Cognitive Disorders

October 3, 2019

girl playing video game

Akili Interactive is developing a range of ‘prescription video games’ that combine specialised algorithms with cutting-edge gaming tech to improve cognitive function in various patient groups with neurological disorders. How exactly does this form of digital therapy work, and what is the potential for engaging game experiences to deliver cognitive benefits?

girl playing video game

When it comes to child development, video games have long been targeted as part of the problem. In the public consciousness at least, the trope is common – isn’t all that screen time rotting our children’s brains, and wouldn’t it be better if they spent more time outside, like countless generations before them?

Meanwhile, numerous academic studies have found that playing games imparts significant cognitive benefits to both children and adults. While moderation is an important concept in gaming, as researchers’ construct an understanding of video games’ cognitive advantage, it’s unsurprising that some in the med tech community are starting to see video games as a potential part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

A prominent example of this belief is Akili Interactive, a Boston-based company that is developing the world’s first generation of ‘prescription video games’. The company currently has an application pending with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead candidate, AKL-T01, a digital therapy delivered through a tablet-based game, which is designed to improve function in the brain’s prefrontal cortex by having the user multi-task through increasingly complex activities.

AKL-T01 is being reviewed as a treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with a decision from the FDA expected by the end of 2019. And waiting in the wings are a range of other programmes aiming to use games to address cognitive impairments in different treatment groups, including autism spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder and multiple sclerosis. Akili has partnered with Japanese pharma firm Shionogi to manage distribution of the platform in Asia, and is exploring opportunities to bring its products to other markets around the world.

See Full Article: Videogames for ADHD and other cognitive disorders

Written by: Chris Lo

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