Children who have ADHD may soon be able to use a different kind of medicine. Akili is a tech company that is working on the development of mobile brain-training games that they hope will become prescription a prescription-based video game. Akili is working with San Francisco’s Neuroscape lab at the University of California on this project, though the company itself is based in Boston. The game that they are working on is called Project: EVO, and is expected to be used as a way to treat ADHD.
Brain-training games have faced some criticism in the past. In 2014, a group of Stanford scholars spoke out against the effectiveness of the games. The statement that was published came from the Stanford Center for Longevity and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. A total of 69 scholars signed the statement. They argued that these games are being presented as quick-fixes, but are unlikely to have a significant effect on the day-to-day lives of the users. They base this on the lack of evidence showing that improvements gained in completing specific tasks in these games will lead to any improvements in more complex life skills.
Akili is working to counteract these claims by putting their brain-game to the test. The game is going through trials set by FDA. The trials are required for all medical devices and medicines. These trials will also lend legitimacy to Project: EVO and potentially put to rest the criticisms by the Stanford scholars as well as other scientists and researchers. The trials are not yet complete as the game is now in phase III of the trials. If it does pass all of the trials, it will be the first of its kind. It may also lead to a new surge in the field of brain-games as more companies seek to get their own games approved by the FDA to become prescription-based video games.