Video games have long been associated with negative connotations about wasting time and killing brain cells, but a new game might just help to change that. The FDA has just cleared the first prescription-only smartphone game, called EndeavorRx, as part of a treatment program for children with ADHD.
EndeavorRx is a game designed to "directly target and activate neural systems through the presentation of sensory stimuli and motor challenges to improve cognitive functioning." According to the company, improvements in ADHD impairments after a month of treatment (playing the game for 25 minutes a day, five days a week) were seen to last for up to a month, which is pretty encouraging. What's more, roughly 50% parents saw a positive change in their child’s day-to-day impairments after one month.
It's not all fun and games, though. The primary study cited by Akili was conducted by its own doctors, and even then their final statement is that the results “are not sufficient to suggest that (the game) should be used as an alternative to established and recommended treatments for ADHD.” Basically, this is going to be more of a helpful addition to standard treatments than a revolutionary revamp for kids living with ADHD.
While the obstacle-dodging, target-collecting game may not hold up that great in entertainment value nor graphic fidelity compared to more mainstream games, EndeavorRx is the first video game that can legally be marketed and prescribed as medicine in the US, and regardless of just how effective it is, that's pretty incredible. We're getting closer to a day when kids won't be taking their medicine — they'll be playing it.
What's next for EndeavorRx? Actually launching the game to the public. There's a waitlist interested parents can join over on this website, but according to the company, the game is only available on iOS devices at the moment. 😢
- The Verge