Alternatives for ADHD grounded in neurotech

For so long the standard of care for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been oral medications, but they are plagued by side effects and dosing challenges. Today, there is a growing pool of scientific and clinical evidence to support neurotechnology devices as an alternative to medications. Some devices are emerging from technical laboratories and others are further along the development spectrum to have regulatory approval or clearance. These technologies may be overlooked under the large umbrella of the pharmaceutical giants. Here, we shine a light on these technology alternatives.

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Image by Daryl Bambic from Pixabay

What are some alternatives?

Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation: In 2017, results from a study lead by James McGough of Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA demonstrated that external trigeminal nerve stimulation may be effective for treating pediatric ADHD. A total of 62 children were enrolled in the trial and used the eTNS therapy each night, at home, for four weeks. The trial’s primary endpoint assessment, the ADHD-RS scale, showed that study participants who were randomized to active treatment had a statistically significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms compared with the sham (control) group. The scientific basis for this double-blind trial was established by an earlier open label trial conducted at UCLA, with funding and eTNS systems provided by NeuroSigma. In that trial, McGough and his team found significant improvements in the symptoms of ADHD and cognition in children treated with eTNS. The findings were published in the journal Brain Stimulation. Later in 2019, the Monarch eTNS device from NeuroSigma was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD. The device is currently approved in Canada and Europe.

Promising technologies under development

NeuroAudit, from Israel, is developing a non-invasive technology based on neuromodulation to treat mental and neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. Their system, which is under investigation, is a closed-loop AI powered monitoring-stimulation system designed to target the specific user; tracking and adapting throughout the treatment course.

Resources

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  1. Kollins, SH, DeLoss, DJ, Canadas, E, et al. A novel digital intervention for actively reducing severity of paediatric ADHD (STARS-ADHD): a randomized controlled trial Lancet Digital Health 2020; 2(4): PE168-E178 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2859-7500(20)30017-0

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