This project will evaluate and refine an innovative multi-component, neuroscience based, non- pharmacologic intervention for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD affects >5% of children, disrupts psychosocial development, and has broad negative outcomes. Pharmacotherapy is often of limited benefit, subject to misuse and associated with unwanted side effects. The proposed treatment program is innovative in: use of a computer based "treatment delivery system" to apply new knowledge of neuroplasticity in clinical care;transformation of existing approaches to physical education based on cognitive neuroscience;and use of an evidence based intervention from social psychology to enhance delivery and effectiveness of neuroscience based interventions. Synergistic integration of brain, body and social interventions provides a paradigm appropriate to address the complexities of neurodevelopmental disorders. The innovative computer programs have multiple newly patented capabilities not present in any previous computerized cognitive treatment exercises. Innovative physical exercises activate the same neurocognitive systems targeted by the computer exercises but in the context of whole body and inter-personal activity, particularly important for ADHD. The social level intervention facilitates participation in the computer and physical activities and it itself also activates target self-regulatory systems. Neuroplastic potential upon which our intervention is based has been dramatically demonstrated in animal and human studies. It has been successfully harnessed for treatment of adult neuropathology but application to childhood disorders has been remarkably absent despite greater plasticity during childhood. As with other clinically relevant advances in basic science, advances are also necessary in methods for treatment delivery if the new discoveries are to be applied effectively. Based on preliminary studies and discussions with the children using prototype programs, we have created innovative game-like computer programs that engage and activate targeted neurocognitive systems with the intensity and consistency that preclinical studies indicate is necessary. Moreover, new research also demonstrates the complexity of neurodevelopment disorders and their treatment due to the interplay of genetic, environmental, physiological, psychological, social, primary and compensatory processes. For example, core features of ADHD alter interactions with the environment in ways that aggravate the symptoms themselves, create additional problems and block effective delivery of treatment. New paradigms that synergistically integrate brain, behavior and social perspectives and methods are therefore needed to treat these disorders. Our program is designed for six to eight year old children in order to intervene precisely when the clinically relevant neurofunctional systems are actively developing and when clinical symptoms first appear.
This project will evaluate and refine an innovative multi-component, neuroscience based, non-pharmacologic intervention for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The intervention is innovative in: use of a newly patented computer based treatment delivery system to apply new knowledge of neuroplasticity in clinical care;transformation of existing approaches to physical education based on cognitive neuroscience;and use of a classroom game to enhance participation by children with attention problems.