Study: Device credited with treating attention deficit disorders

May 20, 2013 8:02:22 PM PDT
A device used to stimulate a part of the brain is being credited for helping kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The results of a year-long study were presented at the American Psychiatric Association's convention in San Francisco.

Kids with ADHD find it hard to focus because the neurons in parts of their brain fire up more slowly than in other kids. Medication has been known to help but there are concerns about side-effects.

The new device called Monarch, developed by NeuroSigma was used in 20 kids with ADHD.

"Average age of about nine. They wore this device for every night during sleep for 8 weeks," said Dr. James McGough, the study's lead investigator.

The device's wires are connected to a transmitter which sends gentle electrical impulses and stimulates the trigeminal nerve of the brain.

"It's as if there is a newly discovered super highway that allows one to send signals in which then can change the activity in all these different destinations," said Dr. Ian Cook of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Cook says the device is already used in Europe and Canada to treat depression and epilepsy.

McGough says within a week parents noticed an improvement in their children's attention, over-activity and impulse control -- all without medication. Their sleep pattern also improved dramatically.

"Based on the parent report about 80 percent of kids were deemed improved by the end of the study," he said.

A month after the treatment ended, parents said the symptoms came back.

It's important to disclose that while UCLA asked to conduct the research, the company NeuroSigma funded the study.

The next step would be for a larger study to be done. If Monarch is approved by the Federal Drug Administration, the device could be on the market in a few years. The price in Europe is 800 euros which is a little more than $1,000.


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