Study: Akili’s mobile digital intervention improves attention, working memory in ADHD

Akili Interactive Labs announced that data from the Akili-001 paediatric attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) pilot study confirmed its lead therapeutic product Project: EVO was safe and feasible. Additionally, the company said data, which were presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s annual meeting, showed that the digital intervention Project: EVO improved attention, inhibition and working memory in children with ADHD.

Lead author Scott Kollins remarked "while results are preliminary, these data provide a strong rationale for continued work to develop this novel, digital intervention for ADHD." Eddie Martucci, CEO of Akili, noted "Project: EVO was designed as medical-grade software that could potentially offer a viable new option or adjunct to pharmaceuticals," adding "this study supports that hypothesis, and we are excited to continue to explore Project: EVO’s utility in paediatric ADHD in larger confirmatory studies."

In the study, Project: EVO was tested in 80 children, aged between eight years and 12 years, of which 40 were diagnosed with ADHD and not taking medication while 40 had no psychiatric diagnosis. The participants used the digital intervention delivered through an action video game interface on a tablet device at home for around 30 minutes daily, five times a week for four weeks.

Akili noted that significant improvements were observed in the ADHD group in the Attention Performance Index (API) of the Test of Variable of Attention (TOVA) along with improvements in impulsivity and variability measurements on TOVA and in multiple measurements on the CANTAB (Cambridge Cognition) spatial working memory test.

Additionally, a post-hoc analysis of participants’ API scores suggested that intervention had a significant larger attention effect on a subgroup of the children with ADHD with more substantial attention impairment at the start of the trial. Further, there was an 81-percent compliance rate for use of Project: EVO, with no dropouts within the ADHD group, the company said.

According to Akili, Project: EVO, which is based on a platform technology exclusively licensed from the University of California, San Francisco, is designed to directly target an individual's ability to process cognitive interference, while adapting difficulty automatically in real-time, "allowing individuals of wide-ranging ability levels to interact with the product without the need for physician calibration," the company remarked. Akili noted it will initiate a large study in the coming months in ADHD, and is currently conducting multiple clinical studies of the technology platform across a variety of conditions, such as paediatric autism spectrum disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.

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