A new study kickedstarted by PureTech Ventures has found a new paradigm in the link between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and videogames. The study shows an improvement in acute awareness and ability to concentrate when testing those with ADHD while playing certain video games. The Wall Street Journal reports, â€œThe companies are building on research suggesting that action videogames can sharpen players' ability to concentrate, and may have other medical or health benefits.â€ PureTech and video game maker AKili would like FDA approval for treating ADHD with video games.
In some ways this is like diabetes patients getting treated with controlled doses of sugar during certain times of the day. A child with diabetes always wants sugar just like most kids with ADHD want to always play video games, or have some form of exciting stimulation. Featured on WebMD, they write, â€œgames offer players intense, often relentless action, constant rewards, competition, and thrilling stories -- just the type of stimuli that the ADHD brain craves, and which it rarely experiences in the more mundane, non-digital world of everyday life.â€
It would be strange treating ADHD with video games, though. This is especially true when previous studies have shown a strong link between attention disorder and rampant video game usage. Readerâ€™s Digest cites, â€œOne recent study of 72 high schoolers found that those who played video games for more than one hour a day showed more symptoms of ADHD than those who played for less time.â€
Itâ€™s also worth noting these games that are meant to help concentration are not popular game titles, they are more thought provoking and inducive for stimulating the mind in positive ways. Most games offer mindless recreation to stimulate the mindâ€™s pleasure seeking neurology. The games promoted to the FDA are being played for different reasons. As reported in The Wall Street Journal article, â€œDr. Gazzaley said it is designed to affect the prefrontal cortexâ€”an area involved in goal-directed behaviorâ€”and visual and motor parts of the brain to strengthen the ability to concentrate and to ignore distractions.