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Treating ADHD With Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-thought-games-were-a-symptom dept.

Medicine 124

Mana Knight writes "The Escapist has an article called 'Gaming the Brain' about video games being used to treat ADHD. Quoting: 'One of the more promising therapies is neurofeedback, which involves continually monitoring patients' brainwaves. Subjects attempt to change their brainwaves to a set pattern and receive an auditory signal that tells them whether they were successful. With enough repetition, neurofeedback can rewire a person's brain. A study published in 2005 examines how patients diagnosed with ADHD can learn to better maintain their concentration through neurofeedback. Depending on how individuals respond to this type of treatment, it can even be used as a replacement for medication.'"

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Weird. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26428787)

You can train concentration through games, but violent games don't train violence.

Re:Weird. (2, Interesting)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428893)

Well INAP(I'm Not a Psychiatrist), but I could see how you could use this system to train aggression instead of concentration if you wanted. It basically rewards the players for having correct brainwave patterns. Assuming you can isolate aggressive thought patterns, just have the system trigger of that. For best results I would hook it to a game set in the middle of some city full of innocent pedestrians and a large assortment of melee weapons. (For best results, play with Wii remote). Damage/powerups are controlled by how aggressive the player can keep their thoughts. Pretty soon you'll probably have created a homicidal maniac, or at least a rage filled individual.

Writing An Effective Troll In Our Web 2.0 World (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429147)

In the War against well formed and insightful posts that are on topic, there needs to be trolls and pieces of flamebait that must fight back. I have noticed that the quality of trolls have started going down, which has resulted in the following:

  • Less of otherwise intelligent people responding to these trolls making themselves look stupid
  • Less people getting innocently marked as Offtopic or Troll by being provoked by comments
  • A decline in the amount of funny off-color joke material marked down

With a new type of web there needs to be a better quality of troll. I want to propose that we work in random chaos to achieve some sort of super troll. We need to not only counter-balance the well thought out comments of well adjusted members of society, but we need to go above and beyond. We need to make users of Slashdot, and especially paying subscribers, so sick of slashdot that they threaten to leave the site.

Now we have the site owners incompetence to our advantage. With the slow and nearly unusable state of their random javascript and their obnoxious flash ads, I think Commander Taco might be siding with us trolls for a change. We need to go to each and every news story and we need to piss a lot of people off. Here are some guidelines for our war against intelligence and common sense:

  • A troll about African Americans (recommended to call them niggers) raping white men (Women can work too but white men rape is funnier)
  • Attack a programmer by taunting and making fun of whatever language they may be using. On Slashdot it may be some variation of C or C++ so just attack and totally deconstruct their language as nothing more and dog turds in penis factory.
  • Attacking Apple is always a great way to provoke Slashdotters who have invested in a Mac. Taunting should go into attacking the company, its users, or Steve Jobs. A jab about Starbucks is recommended
  • Some sort of jab against Jews always works. Make sure to make work cited by Adolf Hitroll.
  • The sky is usually the limit.

Borrowing and modifying old trolls are also acceptable as there is no copyright on these trolls. Honestly, what maladjusted basement dweller is going to take credit for half the shit on this site, troll or not. Make sure to get the point across by pasting multiple copies of your troll in each successive story.

Most importantly try to keep it original and offensive. If you can get at least one person angry or even to leave slashdot for a while you have done your job of dismantling the web one user at a time. Take for example, the slashdot user AlexPKeatonInDa. He probably hung himself because of all the troll chasing happening to him. I also consider KFG another victory as I believe the excessive trolls gave him terminal colon cancer. So now go out there and start writing and posting the most offensive noise your brain can shit out.


Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429331)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If you don't know Clarus from Carl Sagan, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real Mac users. Keep your filthy PC fingers to yourself.

Re:Writing An Effective Troll In Our Web 2.0 World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429651)

I don't know why people like you try to destroy slashdot. Every time I come here, the comments page is crapflooded with "n*gger" and other offensive remarks. Please get a life.

Video game ADHD treatment vs aggression (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429535)

For best results I would hook it to a game set in the middle of some city full of innocent pedestrians and a large assortment of melee weapons.

I realized an irony. If an ADHD treatment calms the person down (thus increasing concentration), but video games increase the person's aggression...


This NEW Video Game can help your children:

  • calm down and control hyperactivity ...
  • enhance attention, concentration, cognition

Health Warning [] : Excessive exposure to violent video games ... aggressive behavior...

Re:Weird. (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429561)

Well INAP(I'm Not a Psychiatrist)

IANGDMFGNON (I Ain't No God Damn Muh' Fucking Grammar Nazi Or Nothin') but couldn't you just make it IANAP, you know, like anyone else?

Re:Weird. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429989)

ROC(Rolling On Carpet) LA(Laughing Aloud)

Boys will be boys (1, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429093)

Sigh, more ADHD/ADD. This isn't a rant at the game/article but more just the whole idea of ADHD/ADD. Overconcerned mommies wondering why their child would rather be at recess playing outside, living an adventure in the woods than sitting on his butt from 8-3 every day with 2 minute breaks in between classes where he gets to stand up from his desk, go get his textbook from the shelf, and sit back down...

HELLO! He's a kid! And he's a boy! We've always known girls are naturally predisposed to sitting still in class learning. Why don't we medicate the girls for no interest in proving themselves manly like the boys like to prove themselves worthy? Girls play the relational games, boys like to play competitive games, see if they have what it takes, if they stack up against the odds.

I'm telling you this is a war against men. The ladies then ask "Where have all the men gone, why doesn't my man sweep me off my feet with emotion?" Well, you asked them to be "nice". If all a man can aspire to in his life is to be a "nice" guy who sits down for his wife when he pees, is it any wonder where they've all gone?

Re:Boys will be boys (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429171)

You do realize that adults can and do have ADHD? My whole bloody family does, including myself.

Posting AC to avoid an admission to "mental disorder" being archived by Google and pulled up associated with my name if a potential employer searches me out,

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429443)

Yes, and I have a mild case of it. But I've learned that more and more of it is just a lack of my self-control in sitting down to study and stay focused to complete it.

Re:Boys will be boys (0)

millia (35740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26432581)

I too have a mild case of it, and have been diagnosed for... 37 years? Something like that.
From my standpoint, it's not just sitting down, it's practicing the sitting down, forcing myself to do it, until it becomes a learned instinctive behavior.

Re:Boys will be boys (0)

smithmc (451373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434571)

Yes, and I have a mild case of it. But I've learned that more and more of it is just a lack of my self-control in sitting down to study and stay focused to complete it.

Um, yes. That "lack of self-control" you mention? It's called ADHD. The fact that some people are better at coping with it than others doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439965)

I always have to ask people who claim to have adult ADD this question: "what do you do for a living?"

I have a feeling you have a very boring job, and generally a pretty boring life. This isn't meant to be an attack on you, just a statement that your life is probably not very fulfilling, which leads you to be unfocused and discontent. In short, modern life leads to the symptoms of ADD.

A large part with the mental illness industry is that it refuses to acknowledge that most mental illnesses are symptoms of social problems. Society no longer fits our biology/psychology as it evolved, this leads to issues.

Another problem with the mild/functional mental illnesses that are becoming more and more common today, such as adult ADD/ADHD and Asperger's is that the DSM criteria are vague. Personally I fit the diagnosis of both of these, as does EVERYONE I KNOW. They are overly vague and nebulous, thus a large portion of the population fit them.

They, generally, though are not even "illnesses". The definition of a mental illness is "impaired ability to function", by function we mean live our domestic and professional lives. You probably have a family and a job, you probably are rather successful, and educated (this being Slashdot), and thus you fail on the "illness" front.

Sitting for hours in front of a monitor is unnatural to your evolved biology, it is no wonder that we have a hard time coping with it. It is no wonder that unnatural circumstances cause stress, and that boring circumstances cause an inability to concentrate.

I really wish we would reinvest all the money we spend of psychiatric conditions towards the ill fitting circumstances that CAUSE them. For the most part, the psychiatric problems are a normal reaction to bad stimulus. Its like your stomach hurting when you are bad food, your body is telling you that something is wrong. But for some reason psychiatrists diagnose the ache as the problem, and ignore the actual cause.

Another issue I have with adult ADD and Aspergers is the dramatic rise in diagnosis. Why would these "illnesses" show exponential growth? Hell, 20 years ago adults COULDN'T have ADD, by definition. But now about half of children have it (making it NOT an illness in my book, it is normal now), and a huge portion of adults. This doesn't make sense.

Yes, a large portion of mental illnesses are very real, but these two I don't see being real.

People also forget that the DSM is the only medical handbook where diseases are recognized by a vote, and whose very existence is solely because of insurance companies. Just because it is in the DSM does not make it real. Hell, up until the version before this one (DSMII) homosexuality was a mental disorder, just because people voted that it should be. Take it with a grain of salt.

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

imikedaman (1268650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429179)

You know ADD often reaches adulthood and affects women too, right? And that it isn't about just wanting to have fun, but is rather an inability to filter out external stimuli, like a ticking clock, which is sometimes serious enough to impede basic functions like the ability to store information from your short term memory or the ability to safely drive a car, right? Surely someone with an opinion as strong as your own would at least have a clue what they're talking about, right? Right?

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429405)

The ladies then ask "Where have all the men gone, why doesn't my man sweep me off my feet with emotion?"

In Chinese we have a saying: "If man not BAD, woman not LOVE (the man)." Women tends to love bad guys - they bring more EXCITEMENT to the women's pumping hearts!

Re:Boys will be boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26430375)

I do volunteer work with the Boys Brigade (11-18 y/o boys youth club). Yes, boys will be boys, and they all want to just run around like nutters a lot of the time. Yes, most of them are incapable of standing still for 10 seconds. The ones with ADHD, however (we've had a few), take these behaviours to extremes that even the rest of them think are crazy.

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434873)

If those of use with ADHD could do it without stimulant meds they wouldn't be allowed to have them. The only reason that Ritalin and the other medications are allowed is that they work far better than any of the other possibilities.

The argument that women and girls don't get ADHD is pretty antiquated, there's increasing evidence that girls tend to over organize, spending all of their time working on that. Leaving little time, if any, for doing things that they enjoy.

People with ADHD can focus, in fact we can focus to a degree that you can't even imagine. What we can't typically do is control the focus. We might be focusing on everything but what we want to, or losing many hours focused on one minute detail of a project. Again, that isn't something that's going to be made up, stimulant medication is a serious pain, and it possessing it requires special care.

Or, we can turn this into some tin foil hat necessitated argument about what's really in the pills and what the medications really do.

Re:Boys will be boys (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26436727)

It's easy to lose focus and claim that there are some people out there that truly do require the drugs, when everyone seems so intent on drugging up their children.

I'm afraid I have no actual sources for that though, merely the experiences of a Community College psychology teacher who also practiced real psychology outside the classroom (as opposed to being just a teacher of it. aka, he had patients which he saw on a regular basis).

Re:Weird. (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429183)

Thank You Sir!

May I have another!!!??

Re:Weird. (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429193)

Weird how when you lift heavy weights you get stronger, but no matter how many times you go skydiving, you'll never be able to fly.

I don't know why you would imply that because you can consciously improve your concentration with programs designed for that purpose, a violent videogame is going to make you violent. It's not rational that videogames would either have no effect or whatever effect you can think of.

Re:Weird. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434229)

When you play a game, you actually concentrate, so you get better at concentration.
When you play a game, you simulate violence, so you get better at simulated violence.

Re:Weird. (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434327)

Thank you for voicing that distinction so eloquently on Slashdot.

Now I guess we need to consider whether all the antisocial behavior on Slashdot is an outlet for those already antisocial or if the community is conditioning for it.

Re:Weird. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434969)

You can train concentration through games, but violent games don't train violence.

You can train for violence with games, the military does it all the time.

That's not anything like saying games unwittingly program people to perform violent acts while they are playing a violent game just for fun.

Anyway, the only thing I have to say on the subject of treating ADHD with games is: Don't let them use Wario Ware!

My brother in law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26428821)

Will be ecstatic at this news. And he'll try to use it against his parents. He's always looking for an excuse to play games instead of go outside. heh.

Retraining (2, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428843)

First pos... oh, a pretty sound. I should do something else.

Re:Retraining (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428885)

I think /. also have this, you see everytime I post something informative like, ADHD is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, I lose my

Re:Retraining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26437557)

You lose your keyboard?

won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428875)

This will only treat misdiagnosed ADHD. Someone's brain just gets used to not giving anything full attention so it jumps around. Train it to work normally again and you're good to go but that's because it originally had the capability to run normally. But if your brain isn't capable of paying attention to things because of an actual deficit in ability to pay attention, then it's impossible to train with something so simple. You need the entire nervous system to run faster with powerful stimulants like Ridalin so that along with everything, the part of your brain that handles attention and focus accelerates to a point that it functions normally. When that happens, you can focus. In other words, this will fix a "software" problem but not a "hardware" problem in your brain. But most supposed ADHD is misdiagnosed anyway so I guess it'll help plenty of people.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (3, Interesting)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428959)

From my understanding, this might help people with "real" ADHD too. The brain does not have some static wiring scheme, force it to do something enough and it will make new wiring to handle that something more efficiently. Some of this is probably just teaching concentration, but it sounds like the goal is to keep subjects in a correct thought patterns for long enough patterns that the brain actually starts to rewire to fit these new patterns.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429677)

My experience from having and being treated for epilepsy is that everything our minds do is wired in. Memory, behaviour and behavioural disorders are all a result of a particular wiring configuration. Change one thing, you change other aspects of the system because they are just different aspects of the same system.

When I had RSI in my right hand I changed to a left handed mouse configuration. When I couldn't make myself work that way I spent a couple of hours browsing porn. My brain rewired itself to accept a left handed mouse. Likewise if you want to change a configuration you call ADHD then give the system some non-ADHD tasks to do with a carrot to keep them at it.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

spiralx (97066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430643)

There are physiological differences in people with ADHD, in particular in the structure of their dopamine receptors - which is why amphetamines have a different effect for them compared to most people. ADHD treatment (in adults at least) does contain things like time and work management therapy, but in addition to drugs to treat the underlying physical problem.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (2, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429037)


We're in "Gattaca Territory here". It's tough, but it's not QUITE a total lock. It will just take the ADD subject 7 times as long to train the capability. But "any progress is greater than zero", and all kinds of activities in this class help.

FPGA vs CPU (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429075)

If we're going to do computer analogies...

the brain is more akin to an FPGA than a CPU. A CPU brain would be genetically programmed from the ground up, forever rigid.
An FPGA brain is a highly adaptable circuit, more-so when its young rather than old. If part of it isn't working, it can be reprogrammed. May not be easy, but it can be done.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429503)

As someone with ADD, and someone who has done a lot of research in this area, care to post some links backing up your assertion that ADHD/ADD is a "hardwired" neurological problem that can never be changed but managed with medication? Because everything I've read suggests differently.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

spiralx (97066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430659)

Try here [] , here [] , here [] or well, any of the articles I found on Google under "adhd dopamine receptors".

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435133)

Honestly, I wouldn't buy too much into the neurology aspect. Sure that's what causes it, but the nervous system is far more flexible than was ever imagined.

If you're wanting to work at it, probably the best source of information would be a Buddhist meditation center. The more practiced monks and lamas are probably the best source of information on the subject. Vipissana and other practices that discourage attachment to thoughts are probably a good place to start looking.

But, that's largely anecdotal, and it's hard to say how well it works in the long term.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

itwasgreektome (785639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429761)

I don't believe this is necessarily correct. Let me try an analogy. Say there is a gentleman who is born with average strength and average biceps. And then you have a person who was born skinny and with tiny biceps. The biceps are the analogy for the part of the brain that concentrates. Naturally, the person with smaller biceps can curl less than the person born with average strength. This is a physical [real] deficit. However, with physical training, and plenty of protein drinks, that small bicep deficit can be overcome and expand to a size greater than or equal to that of a normal person. Likewise, even though a smaller part of the brain of a person with ADD/ADHD [or similar size, but less efficient] is devoted to attention, it can be trained to work harder and overcome that deficit.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

drik00 (526104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429791)

I'm assuming you mean Ritalin [] ... hard to take you serious when you misspell the name of the widely used medication.... sorry.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26432023)

I love cheesing off people by pronouncing it "Rye-tal-lin" (middle syllable rhymes with pal) like they did in TOS [] . Gotta love hearing Bones pronounce that. They used it to treat an epidemic - foreshadowing?

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

paul.tap (717722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430181)

So what is real ADHD/ADD? Is it the malfunctioning of the brain that the appr. 30% of the people taking ritalin and "getting better" by? Personally I don't think so. I think it is a diagnosed brain malfunctioning (at least further from normal functioning than most people) which may have multiple causes and treatments. At the moment all these similar things are called ADHD/ADD. None of them being more or less real than the other. My wife has ADD and she had neurofeedback. It served her very well! It is interesting to see how indeed by watching a movie or playing a game you can rewire your brain (oversimplified). The nice thing is that it all works via the electrodes on your head, so the brainwaves control the output on the screen. No thinking involved. My wife first had ritalin and it worked, but with a lot of side effects. I know more people with ADHD to whom this is not the price they are willing to pay (all the time). It takes away their creativity, reduces the quality of their work, etc. Neurofeedback, so far, doesn't have this. Besides that, it is a temporary thing you need to do, on the contrary of taking ritalin all your life. If you ask me personally, I consider ADHD/ADD as a quality (with some negative side effects), because most people that I know of having it, are very creative, high sensitive, etc. Thus having a way to lower these side effects without losing the quality of it is a very positive thing.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435059)

The ADHD brain is different than a typical one, but it's really not that different. There's definitely a well substantiated ability to focus, the term being hyperfocus, with little ability to control it.

People with ADHD can meditate, and the right meditation does help. But, unlike with normal people, the concentration goes back to normal much sooner and the amount of time on task required is much greater. Think 2-3 hours a day. And no that isn't impossible, it's entirely possible that and individual with ADHD will spend that much time in hyperfocus anyways.

As for the stimulants, that's really not how they work, nor is that what they do. They don't speed up the attention handling, they increase the focus. Meaning the mind slows. I'm not sure anybody really understands why so many with ADHD have a flipped reaction to stimulus. But it's pretty apparent that it is to some extent the case.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

yurnotsoeviltwin (891389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435655)

That's not true, and I can tell you this from first hand experience using neurofeedback. I have ADD (clinically diagnosed) and have been taking treatment with first Straterra and then Adderall for some time now, and I was actually a part of some of the earlier testing of this exact system (the SMART system). When I was using it, it was somewhat buggy - the helmet with the sensors had some conductivity issues, and the hardware was incredibly annoying - but I still definitely reaped benefits from it. The brain is a marvelous thing, and claiming that anything about it can only be changed through one type of intervention (chemical) is pretty naïve.

I personally found that the Need for Speed series worked well with the SMART system, as did other racing games, because the system was able to modify the responsiveness of the accelerator in relation to my level of concentration. Honestly I didn't even like doing it that much because I get bored with racing games - I'm much more of a First Person Shooter or strategy game type of guy, but those don't work with the SMART system very well. I've learned now how to force my brain into that state, and now I only take my Adderall at certain times, like finals week. I stopped using the system when I left for college four years ago because, frankly, I didn't want to be "that kid" who sits in his dorm with a contraption attached to his head as an experimental treatment, but now that I'm about to graduate and get my own place I might look into what advances they've made in the technology and pick it back up again. Maybe eventually game developers will include support for systems like this in their games, so that more genres will work with it - rather than just turning the level of input from the X button up and down, the system could directly modify the rate of unit production in a strategy game or the speed at which your character heals in an FPS.

Re:won't treat REAL ADHD (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439615)

It drives me crazy how people completely mischaracterize ADD/ADHD. It's not that a person cannot pay attention to something, it's that other things demand their attention and they can't not pay attention to that new thing. It's an overabundance of attention. That's why ADDers (like myself) have the unique ability to hyper-focus as well, so that if you can get sufficiently focused on a thing (difficult) you sometimes pay attention to it to the exclusion of everything else, even so far as not at all mentally hearing anything going on around you or words spoken to you.

Future hardware (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428907)

I wonder if the appearance of more and better EEG controllers like OCZ's NIA or Emotiv's EPOC will be followed by games directly oriented to the control of those brainwaves.

I then wonder how much experience we have regarding the effect it may have on a little kid to learn to control his brainwaves like some control a plastic guitar.

Will they develop new mental illnesses like mental carpal tunnel or will they develop other skills like the ability to fall asleep at will in less than a second.

Biofeedback (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428919)

This is a good example of the potential benefits to using EEG-enhanced biofeedback. Unfortunately, due to the expense of decently sensitive EEG gear, it won't be common for home use. Maybe someone can crank out some cheap SQUIDs?

Re:Biofeedback (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428977)

Maybe someone can crank out some cheap SQUIDs?

I squish a stress-ball, but to each it's own.

Re:Biofeedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429613)

I squish a stress-ball, but to each it's own.

Ooooh! I do that too, it works wonders on my pelvic muscles.

An auditory signal as reward?! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429033)

Are you Frikken kidding me?! If you are going to hook someone up to a machine designed to encourage the participant to rework neural pathways, then the "reward" oughta be better than audio feedback! If you ask me, (and yes, that was rhetorical because no one is asking me) the feedback should be something a little more rewarding. How about something like a quick jolt to the pleasure centers of the brain?

Imagine it. Sitting there in a chair that resembles an execution device "thinking" your way from "wrrrr....wrrrr....wrreee.....wrrreeeeeee... wrooooooo.....wooooooo......" to "wooohoooo!!" Another recommendation for augmentation of the process is a change of underwear.

Re:An auditory signal as reward?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429649)

If you RTFA, the auditory reward was in some earlier stage of devices. The system discussed in the article instead is hooked to the game controller (you can use any game you want) and makes the controller more/less responsive depdending on if your thoughts are in the target pattern.

Re:An auditory signal as reward?! (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26431097)

Or a small message telling you that the Princess is in another castle?

Re:An auditory signal as reward?! (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439297)

How about something like a quick jolt to the pleasure centers of the brain?

There's absolutely no need for invasive surgery and addiction for something reasonably straightforward like this. The sound is just to let them know they're doing it right. For a reasonably mature subject, that's all that's necessary for this kind of scheme. If it's a little kid, give them a cookie when they succeed.

what? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429095)

I didn't read the article, but it's clearly stupid. I'm bored, I'm gonna go play games now.

Re:what? (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435125)

How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Hey, wanna go ride bikes?!

Just get them a WoW account (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429117)

It might be simpler to just get them an account on some game that demands long login times, like Evercrack or World of Warcraft. If they stay on for hours at a time, they don't really have a serious ADHD problem. They're probably just bored with school. See The Trouble with Boys" [] , from Newsweek. "Very well-meaning people have created a biologically disrespectful model of education."

In fact, games might be a good tool for sorting out students with serious disorders from the merely bored.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (4, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429175)

If ADHD meant "inability to pay attention to anything whatsoever for a long time", you'd have made a great point.

It doesn't. You didn't.

I have moderately severe ADHD. This is easily confirmed by my reaction to the Schedule II stimulants -- they make me calm, and allow me to do things like sit still without vibrating in place. I can quite easily, unmedicated, play a video game for 16 hours straight -- as long as it happens to be catching my interest. If it gets dull, I start doing other things. Often, other things at the same time. I have been known to play WoW for 8 hours while watching old sitcoms on a nearby DVD player and reading a book. There are also times when the game is sufficiently interesting to actually hold my interest for long periods of time. It's not unique to games, either -- get me started on a really interesting math problem, and I'm not going to distract easily. I can program for 16 hours straight, too.


The disorder, again, isn't that I can't stay on a task for a long time -- it's that I don't necessarily have the ability to *control* what task I'm on. If you give me a really interesting math problem, and then tell me to do something else, it may be beyond my ability to continue the other task without getting side-tracked onto the math problem again.

I'm aware that a lot of people think this is "just laziness". I always assumed it was, until I started comparing notes with other people who have clinical diagnoses of ADHD, and discovered that there are very clear distinctions in the pattern of attention.

So far, I'm on meds a fair chunk of the time, but I like to spend some time off them. There are things I do better unmedicated. Some of them are even work-related! But I like having a choice in the matter... And that means that I have to take a little time now and then to correct people who are going off a vague sense that ADHD is mostly faked, or whatever, because they've got a very weird stereotyped view of what ADHD ought to mean, and think anything that doesn't look like it isn't "real" ADHD.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429819)

A lot of those symptoms sound like the natural tendency of wanting to do whatever interests you at the moment and it just being hard to pull away. I think a lot of smart kids, because of a slow public school system (for instance, I didn't have to study at all until 12th grade), simply never developed the self-control earlier in scholastic life due to this type of thing. It sort of becomes an ingrained, doing well up to a certain grade/level despite bad habits that never recieved significant negative feedback before, so that failure eventually (inevitably) occurs and often triggers an exploration into what the cause is with ADHD or the like being a nice culprit because you can medicate it (pills) versus a tougher solution. Of course, I don't want to downplay the severity of breaking a habit that may have been with a person the majority of their life and the system/parents sometimes actively foster the situation and this type of solution as being most convenient to them. Although that is my take on the skyrocketing rates of ADHD, perhaps it's just an observation of the faked cases masquerading as ADHD.

But what would you say leaps such behavior from perhaps something beyond a learned habit into something needing outside intervention like ADHD?

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26430509)

It might also be that it's actually getting diagnosed now.

As for what makes it transcend a "learned habit", there are a few things. First off, the fact that it isn't a learned habit, of course, but it goes further; the measurable forebrain hypometabolism is a big one.

It's sorta like saying "lots of people are too lazy to get up off the couch and go for a jog. What would you say is different enough about people without legs that leaps it beyond a learned habit into something needing outside intervention?"

Re:Just get them a WoW account (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434447)

Everybody has a natural tendency to prefer to do what interests them. There are two things that make it a disorder: (1) you can't control it, and (2) it has a significant, negative impact on your life.

ADHD isn't a new diagnosis, it's just a new name and conceptualization for informal diagnoses people have been making for years. You're doing it here: just not interested. Other diagnoses include "lazy", "unmotivated", and "absent minded". The problem with these informal diagnoses is that they're too simplistic. They're internally consistent if you want to cherry pick certain facts but give you an accurate picture of the individual's life. It's not that students aren't interested in getting along in school, it's that they can't even if they want to. If they don't want to, it's not a disorder.

Likewise, a diagnosis like "lazy" doesn't work either, because people with ADHD have the capacity to work harder than their "normal" counterparts. "Absent minded" or "wooly headed" doesn't cover everything either, because in emergency, high stress situations, people with ADHD may feel, calm, focused, and normal, and show unusual presence of mind. In fact part of the pathology of the disease is that it keeps people's lives on the edge of chaos, and they perform better there.

Brain studies support a biological basis for ADHD. For example when people with ADHD are given a task that normal people perform well on, brain scan suggested that increasing conscious effort actually makes their brains less coordinated. It is literally the case that the harder they try, the worse they do. It's like throwing the throttle all the way forward on an outboard motor: it creates a lot of noise but the props aren't driving the boat forward; their just cavitating.

This may be why games are promising, because the same is true in games. You don't want to try hard, you want to achieve flow state. Think about that for a moment: the problem with labeling ADHD people as lazy and unmotivated is that it leads to exactly the opposite actions than they need. They don't need to try harder, they need to relax. It's like ADHD brains work in a different stimulation band than average brains; the effect of stimulant medications is to shift the band towards the normal spectrum.

Or course ADHD has its problems too. It's a very bad name for a complex of several phenomena: a higher need for stimulation to achieve optimal performance, poor performance at conscious direction of attention, and poor impulse control, each of which is distinct but related to other facets and may manifest itself differently in different people. What is clear though is that there is ample evidence that people who should receive this diagnosis are biologically different. For example a dose of amphetamines that might undermine impulse control in a normal person could improve it in somebody with ADHD.

I believe your point is that ADHD is part of natural human population variation; if so, you'd be right. The exact line between a character quirk and a psychiatric disorder is not clear, nor is is fixed. It may be that in preindustrial societies people who now receive a diagnosis might have provided societies with the benefits of restless, stimulation deprived individuals: as big game hunters, explorers, warriors, craftsmen, or shamans. The problem is that in a society where it is mandatory to regulate your life by the clock and calendar, even moderate ADHD traits are highly mal-adaptive. I've heard it said that the primary symptom of adult ADHD is chronic underachievement.

Of course, one alternative would be to reorganize all of society to make use of each individual's unique characteristics. Unfortunately, that's just not realistic. We can wish society was different than it is, we can work towards that end, but in the meantime you have nothing to offer people who drop through the cracks. It's more practical to address each individual's coping abilities, through a combination of medication, skill development, and planning. That's the point of a psychiatric diagnosis, the thing that makes such a diagnosis more useful than a folk diagnosis. It gives you practical things to do right away.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

loafula (1080631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434849)

You make me wish I had mod points. +1 Insightful

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26436421)

Your analysis is excellent. Well-written; if I'd been modding instead of posting, that'd be a +1 insightful.

I got insanely lucky; the people I work with are okay with coping some with my limitations in exchange for having my strengths around. When you need 5k lines of code intimately tied to the internals of the C library and you have under a month to do it, I'm useful. Useful enough that it's okay to have to remind me in every scrum to actually mark my bugs as "checked in" after I check in the last changes for them, apparently. :)

Mod up parent (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439901)

Well said and accurate, which is important since nearly everyone else commenting on this story has the picture wrong.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435203)

The lack of a "learned habit". You're starting by assuming that there's such a habit -- but I've seen no evidence to suggest such a thing.

Furthermore, I had this trait before I was in school, and it's always been the same way.

I think you're missing a key point. ADHD meds do not "work" for people who don't have ADHD. If you have a hard time focusing, but you don't have ADHD, and you take stimulants, they make you more jittery. They don't make you calm down and focus better. Caffeine can help people "focus" if they're just tired, but it doesn't have the same impact at all on most people that it does on the ADHD folks.

I actually for a while bought into the "never learned these skills" theory. However, I'm 36 now. I can learn nearly any skill extremely quickly. And yet, no matter how I try, I can't learn the "skill" of paying attention to something that's not interesting.

I tend to pick things up and put them down unconsciously. If I want to pick something up, and I'm holding something, the thing I'm holding isn't part of my decision-making process -- and I may never find it again, depending on where I was when I stopped thinking about it. My desks tend to be covered with objects that I have put down because I was done holding them and wasn't aware of them anymore.

If the desk is full, I push things to make room. Again, unconsciously.

If the desk is really full, this means things fall off the other side of the desk. And every time, it surprises me. Why? Because I was totally unaware that I was pushing things to make room for them, and totally unaware that the other end of the surface, two feet away from me, was also full. And if someone who can do a fair bit of calculus in his head can't figure out that pushing things off a table makes them fall off, it strikes me as reasonable to assume that there is a "disorder" involved somewhere.

Seriously, this isn't a habit. It's not like a habit. It's just a difference in how my brain processes input.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26430321)

It is fact that playing a video game actually puts you in the same state as a professional athlete or a yogi in deep meditation, so that doesn't suprise me.

Biofeedback specialists actually use Quantative EEG's also of which results are entered into a database along with the client's diagnosises. With such a extensive database, they can compare you against the database. Obviously after collecting enough data, they can confirm that a brain with such brainwave patterns suffers from which disorder(s).

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26430583)

Your descriptions doesn't make it easier to believe your claim that ADHD is real.

You could just as well being describing a normal person. People tend to prefer doing things they like (that's why we say they like doing them), and get bored doing dull and boring stuff (hence "boring").

Your problems concentrating on boring things are just proof that you are not a computer. Do you really want to be a computer? Because that's what it sounds like your medication is helping you become.

Humans invented computers to do repetitive boring things, because we hate doing those things. Even games are boring. Just look at the graphics card... Millions of complex calculations just to draw a simple frame. Very boring. Nobody would calculate even a single frame of a game of WoW by hand. So, we have computers doing all the boring tasks of the game, and do the fun ones ourselves (i.e. playing the game).

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26434551)

Your post, for one, assumes that the pointless grinding for gear of WoW is fun in the first place.

If you've never experienced an actual disability to tune things like the birds outside your classroom windows out, then don't assume you know what it's like to have ADHD. If you think writing homework assignments in a notebook helps, you're not the kind who forgets the notebook or is too distracted to hear the assignment. Not being able to concentrate on something is not the same as not wanting to. Lots of people who don't want to concentrate on something can. It's not a matter of a lack of responsibility. It's a matter of impaired ability.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26431883)

If you description is correct, then it would appear that I have ADHD. I would say that I exhibit the exact same symptons - except that I never played WOW.

I often find I cannot even watch a movie or a tv show without e.g. playing a game of tetris on the side...

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26432387)

I was labeled as ADHD most of my life. Then I got to join a group of high-intensity, mature people, and I realized that growing up was much better, in every imaginable way then drugs. Unless you've been clinically diagnosed with a dopamine disorder, the odds are extremely high that you're not ADHD. You're a person who hasn't chosen to grow up and act like an adult. Yup, you can hyperfocus. Guess what, the whole race can; most Americans are just too fucking lazy to. You've got intellectual curiosity that they've relegated to the junk heap. Grow up already.

Of the thousands of "ADHD" adolescents I've worked with, I've found that about 2-5% actually have a clinical diagnosable disorder. The rest of them have a lack of discipline. For most, their parents failed to beat them. All of them have been labeled and abandonded by the school system. Almost all of them are very intelligent and curious. Curiousity is not a disorder, it's an animal thing. Only humans call it a disorder.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435289)

I can see why you posted that as an anonymous coward.

Your smugness is based on your complete lack of information. You have no sources. Why? Because the sole basis of your position is that you would feel more smug if you believed it.

Again, you're missing a key point: For the majority of people, these drugs would not have effects anything like what they do to me. That's the diagnosis, right there.

One of the most interesting misdiagnoses of ADHD is that it tends to get mistaken for bipolar disorder. This is because of people like you, who try their hardest to make people feel guilty and bad for not being able to do things that other people do. I assume you spend time at wheelchair ramps, yelling at people to stop being lazy and just walk?

Probably not, actually. But the only difference is that in that case, you can see what's going on, and you're not yet quite able to understand that sometimes you don't actually have perfect knowledge of someone else's brain. Don't worry, you'll catch on! :)

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26434009)

ADHD doesn't exist.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26436191)

A lot of the problem is that ADHD is often mis-diagnosed, and many other issues are also commonly mis-labeled as ADHD.

Example: When my youngest brother was in the 9th grade, his grades fell suddenly, he went from being an A or B student to failing, & of course it was blamed on ADHD. Turns out the kid is just too smart, and was bored stiff to the point he just didn't do the work. My mother was about to start medication, & I told her to wait & just give him more challenges. After enough bad noise the school recluctantly allowed him into the honors programs. Surprise, grades went back up & he paid attention.

I've seen pretty much every childhood or teenage behavioral issue written of as "AdHd", usually because it's easier to write a prescription than actually figure out what is bothering them.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26436697)

Ditti, except I'm not usually medicated anymore.
If I've been working on or thinking about a particularly interesting problem I can't even sleep until I am totally exhausted. This once forced me to give up chess (which I suck at anyway) so that I could eventually think about other stuff.
In programming I often lose interest in what I'm working on once I've solved the problem though there's still bugs in my implementation. Bugs are less interesting than a new algorithm.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439777)

Thank god I'm hearing from someone who actually has ADHD. Mine is pretty terrible, and you're just right, it's not a lack of ability to pay attention to things, it's more a lack of ability to not pay attention to things. I've been know to hyperfocus on, e.g., writing a 30 page paper and not even stop to go to the bathroom. Of course that's assuming I can start working on it at all.

I'm sort of curious about your experience with medication. I've never taken any for my symptoms, but I think my ADD may have been largely responsible for getting fired from my last job. It was all uninteresting busywork and so damn near impossible to get through. This is the first time I've really considered taking something since I think my ADD is part of why I'm as mentally agile as I am. What medication are you taking? How does it affect you as far as concentration on boring tasks goes, or motivation to do work in general? Do you notice a change in creativity or your ability to draw bits of knowledge from every corner of your mind (something folks like us are supposed to be good at)? Thanks.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (2, Interesting)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430161)

Ever heard of "hyperfocus"?
I'm diagnosed with ADHD and play WoW for quite long stretches of time. While I tend to have quite a short attentionspan for most things games work quite the opposite for me.

Games tend to calm me down and get me in a state which enables me to really focus and concentrate on a single task or goal for much longer periods of time. A state of mind mostly refered to as hyperfocus. Generally it means that if you find something fun or very interresting it enables you to extremely focus on the subject. A thing most people with adhd will recognize I think.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26431711)

Hyperfocus sounds like flow state that people who do anything that requires an ounce of brain power do. I don't see how that state is a disorder of any kind unless you live in a society where using your brain to think is a disorder.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (2, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435259)

The difference is that it's a matter of absolutes. Lots of people can get into a state of hyperfocus. People with ADHD are often in that state or can't concentrate on a single task at all. Either everything else is shut almost completely out, or any little thing can pull attention away.

Hyperfocus is like a drug. Breaking someone's hyperfocus is like taking cigarettes from a smoker or coffee from a caffeine addict.

ADHD isn't just about dopamine, either. People with ADHD can process any combination of dopamine, serotonin, and/or adrenalin differently. It is often all three.

Poor attitude is not ADHD. Neither are depression, social anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, or many other abnormalities with similar ranges of effects. There are diagnostic tests for ADHD that include ruling out other disorders. PET scans, IQ tests, psychological profiles of the whole household, and more are often recommended for proper diagnosis. "Johnny is bored in class" is not a diagnosis of ADHD.

Re:Just get them a WoW account (2, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26436075)

It "sounds like", but it's pretty different.

Most people take quite a while to switch tasks, and tend to have some general awareness of things other than what they're working on. Hyperfocus is generally neither of these. One of the reasons people ask me to help debug stuff that just needs a second opinion is that by the time they've finished their description of the problem, I'm completely on that task, with no idea what I was doing before they started talking. Which means I am more focused on the task ten seconds in than most people would be five minutes in... And massively increases the value of my first-minute responses. ... Of course, I lose my existing state, which is a problem. BUT. Since I do that all the time anyway, I've developed decent coping mechanisms. :)

Re:Just get them a WoW account (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26432993)

If they stay on for hours at a time, they don't really have a serious ADHD problem

I'm sorry, but you have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. One of the symptoms of ADHD is very mild savantism in one or two particular subjects, commonly focusing on the sciences, as well as an uncanny ability to concentrate on things that are engrossing to the subject, like books or video games. There has been tons and tons of research on this, I was even in one of the studies when I was a kid for three months at NIMH. It really sucks that there is so little public knowledge about ADHD, but so much information in the academic world available. This concept of using a video game with neural feedback was in use ten years ago, it was published in CHADD ten years ago, and those of us who actually keep up with ADHD knew about it ten years ago. Newsweek is not an appropriate source of information on ADHD, and that might explain why your thoughts on it are so misguided. Get your kid a copy of "Putting on the Brakes," or get a subscription to CHADD, but damn man, you're on slashdot, you can't quote a non-academic publication as a source here because we all know they're the reason for such gross misunderstanding of science by the general public. Now back to why the LCH is going to cause black holes and we're all gonna die...

there's no such thing as ADHD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429263)

I'm sorry, were you saying something?

Patents on medical treatment by video games (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429273)

US Patent 5377100: Method of encouraging attention by correlating video game difficulty with attention level

European Patent Application EP1219233: Using image modification and temperature biofeedback to diagnose and treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


US Patent 5678571: Method for treating medical conditions using a microprocessor-based video game

US Patent 5913310: Method for diagnosis and treatment of psychological and emotional disorders using a microprocessor-based video game

US Patent 6450820: Method and apparatus for encouraging physiological self-regulation through modulation of an operator's control input to a video game or training simulator

WIPO Patent WO/2001/004864: Method and apparatus for encouraging physiological self-regulation through modulation of an operators control input to a video game or training simulator

(Unknown): Method and Apparatus for Encouraging Physiological Change Through Physiological Control of Video Devices
IPC8 Class: AA61B50482FI
USPC Class: 600545

Inventors: Devon Greco, Domenic Greco


US Patent 5722418: Method for mediating social and behavioral processes in medicine and business through an interactive telecommunications guidance system
(Self-help system, not video game system)

US Patent 5938531: Information reproducing apparatus for use with a psychological game machine

*GASP*! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429311)

... and they told me I was wasting my time. I knew it! I knew it all along!!

Yes, give me more games!!


Nexuiz works for me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26429487)

Fast paced first person shooters like or work for me :)

ADHD Linked to Games? (1)

PirateBlis (1208936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429629)

Well it's good to know that bright colors and flashing lights mixed with objectives would finally cure ADHD. I was beginning to think that proper replies on slashdot would benefit us in a way where we

ooooo blinky LEDs....

That's fine... (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429849) long as movies, television and broadcast and purchased music all carry the very same warning.

Anyone who has experienced a child after watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will attest to this.

Zero punctuation (1)

majorme (515104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429883)

They only thing that other sites don't have is Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. This guy's video reviews [] are hilarious. I love this guy when he bash RPG's and ohhh I really do. MGS4 review was pretty good too.

Vindiction! (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429905)

I'm not a hopeless shut-in, I'm just self medicating.

In the zone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26430253)

I had regular biofeedback sessions for many of my teenage years. I experienced many different sorts of protocols, including some games.

While it does work great, it was found that many kids, once returned to the classroom - would just zone out again.

Back then, the aim of the most detailed 3D game was to keep control of space crafts, quite easy and entertaining. I don't know if today problem solving games exist for treatment, but believe they would be much more beneficial.

I saw a presentation on this (1)

SwabTheDeck (1030520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430745)

This is a very intriguing treatment. The "games" aren't exactly Counter-Strike or WoW, though. In fact, they're very similar to this toy [] . The presentation I saw had kids with electrodes on their heads looking at a monitor that had a dude hanging on a red balloon. The object was to keep the balloon at a specified altitude based on input from the electrodes. Supposedly, after a few months of these types of exercises, someone in this program will be able to keep the balloon steady at will. This is supposed to build concentration skills that can be transferred over to help on things like studying and professional work. The doctor giving the presentation said that only about 60% of people who enter the program are able to successfully develop these skills.

I have moderate ADD (no H) myself and have had great success using the drug Adderall. I went from getting C's and D's in school to getting nearly straight A's as a result of using the medication. However, the drugs make me feel a bit subdued and this is not always desirable. There's also a psychological factor in that I'm somewhat bothered by the idea of having to rely on a chemical stimulant to be able to sit and do the things that other people can do without drugs. I was highly interested by this treatment, but it's quite costly and time-consuming (several thousand USD over about 2 years). My insurance company would not cover any of it and I doubt most companies would since it's largely experimental at this point. This coupled with a low-ish success rate have deterred me thus far. Are there any 'dotters out there that have tried this? The idea seems sound, in theory, but I never actually have spoken with someone who underwent the treatment.

!new (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430933)

I read about this in CHADD almost ten years ago.

But what happens to the positives of AD(H)D? (1)

millia (35740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26432455)

Credentials: ADD from back when it was hyperactivity. Been on the Feingold Diet (worked for me, not for everybody), various drugs (works for me, not for everybody), and a lot of forced practice courtesy of mom (would probably work on everybody, since she's a force of nature).

I"ve heard various things about this, over the years, and the question that occurs to me: what happens when they've re-trained the brain this way, to the *good* aspects of ADHD?

I can zip through solving problems in a way that a lot of other people can't. I can 'see' the solution when working at fixing something mechanical. I can also spot discrepancies - visual, aural, logical - much quicker than my friends.

How much of this goes away? That would be a very interesting followup research project, IMHO.

Re:But what happens to the positives of AD(H)D? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435393)

The problem is, they don't want us to think like us. They want us to think like them. We are different, and that's a problem for the people who want us to be "normal".

Sure, we have some difficulties, but we have other abilities most "normal" people don't. If someone wants to be "normal", then these treatments are great for them. If someone can't learn to overcome or live with the negatives of ADHD and take advantage of the positives, then let them choose the treatments.

I, personally, prefer my symptoms to Ritalin. When I need to concentrate and I'm having difficulty, I have caffeine. It doesn't time release and actually keep me from thinking how I usually think. If this biofeedback would allow me to switch my mind back and forth between modes, then that's great. I don't want to give up what makes me who I am and forces me to think like someone else, though. Sure, some things are easier on Ritalin or Prozac, but other things are harder. I can deal with ADHD. I'd rather deal with it than have it taken from me.

Re:But what happens to the positives of AD(H)D? (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435461)

I can't speak to the neurofeedback. The drugs don't take away the positives for me, noticably. I'm still wacky and creative, and I can still take interrupt loads that would reduce most people to quivering jelly.

My big weakness is just not being good at *stopping* working.

Re:But what happens to the positives of AD(H)D? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439313)

You can actually create a map of neural activity against a normalised database (let's avoid the "what's normal" argument for a moment - this is averaged statistics). This is done by fitting a skullcap and ruining whatever hairstyle you had with a lot of goo for the electrodes, and running through a whole battery of tests. For ADHD sufferers this is pretty close to torture, but it is the most precise route to see EXACTLY where your "version" doesn't quite follow the norm - and then you decide what to address.

The other approach is like your family doctor uses: see symptoms, rationalise a solution based on prior evidence and try out what appears to be indicated as a remedy. There too can you decide what aspects to address.

However, I think you're mixing up two things. What you describe is more a symptom of light Aspergers, an "affliction" of the autistic spectrum but functional (means: you can still live in society without help), and is not atypical for geeks. It doesn't make you "ill" or "special" or "in need of help", you merely shift on the scale from social to analytical to the analytical side (sorry to generalise so dramatically but I'm typing this from memory, and I had a serious concussion a few weeks ago which doesn't help :-).

You may want to look for a book called "born on a blue day" which is the first person story who has this in a somewhat extreme form. Worth a read.

BTW, if you are an "Aspie" you're in good company. Recent research suggests both Einstein and Newton were too. And being one makes it much easier to communicate with other similarly "equipped" people, it's why certain types of geeks are much easier to talk to than others, and it most certainly doesn't declare you "without" feeling or passion. It just comes out in a different way.

Anyway, enough typed. Fooooood.

See Mom... (1)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26432585)

I wasn't wasting my life, I was self-medicating!

Hmmm, (1)

cj1127 (1077329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434031)

I guess if it worked for Angry German Kid...

The Truth Of It (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26434401)

It'd ADD, not ADHD. ADD has +H (with hyperactivity) and -H (without) variants.

Neurofeedback, like any other form of biofeedback, is a form of operant conditioning. It does not rewire anything beyond the obvious changes in strengths of synaptic associations within Hebbian cellular assemblies.

There's a fatal flaw in using games-like neurofeedback software to treat ADD. If you really have it (as about 5% of those diagnosed do) then you can't sit still to play. Being able to play shows you don't have it.

Many people have an attentional strategy that's been forced into inclusion in the diagnosis, who do not have a disorder, in that it does not cause significant life problems. Having teachers complain that certain children do not adhere to the enforced learning reinforcement processes is a teacher's problem. Teachers who insist on doping kids for their learning style should be investigated for child abuse, as should parents who fall for having an educator diagnose and prescribe.

"When Children Don't Learn", Dianne McGuinness, chapters 9 and 10, sets forth the single most accurate history of ADD and the most damning evidence against those who seek to usurp psychiatric medicine for their own ends. When the APA was devising the DSM IV, they took the unheard of step of asking Dr. McGuinness to write an 'opposing opinion' addendum to the ADD entry.

There's major flaw in the idea of using neurofeedback. if it can be used to treat in a matter of weeks in the few who really have it and would benefit, then just living with it over a matter of years one would happen upon instances which offered similar opportunities for practicing overcoming, and they should train themselves right out of it. My research turned up individuals who still exhibited some outward symptoms but under go-nogo-reaction time testing showed fewer errors than non-ADD people and showed reaction times to rival fighter pilots.

Through my research I turned up many times what I've come to believe is the one best treatment for ADD: Montessori schools. It does nothing to inhibit the beneficial aspects of the common attentional condition that's been forced under the ADD umbrella. For that matter neurofeedback does nothing to inhibit those either, so at least it does no harm. For that matter, anyone who gets neurofeedback is less likely to take addictive and brain altering drugs for years, and that's a good thing too.

I cannot find a reason why TFA is noteworthy. It is one of many review articles on the subject produced over the last two decades. It is just like the others in that it comes to the same conclusions yet fails to address the internal logical flaw of 'those that can don't need it' or the external evidence that those that it would change would change anyway.

Re:The Truth Of It (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435355)

Wrong on several counts.

First, "ADD" is now "ADHD, primarily inattentive".

Second, people with ADHD can often stay focused on things for a very long time if those things are suitably structured ... and sometimes depending on phase of the moon.

It seems to me that you've come up with an interesting theory about a disorder currently unknown to medical science, called "Can't Pay Attention No Matter What Disorder" (CPANMWD). This is fascinating, but it's got buggerall to do with ADHD.

Re:The Truth Of It (1)

millia (35740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26438037)

If Montessori is the one best treatment, I would have been a miserable failure. I work best when I do have structure.
For example, I love reading. (Could read before I spoke, actually.) I have a large vocabulary and an instinctive grasp of grammar because of this.
It wasn't until I was actually forced to write, in great amounts, as part of an AP English course, that I really learned how to write. (And, am severely out of practice, alas.)
Montessori, if I remember right, would allow me to read, but not force me to write. And the majority of people I've met with AD(H)D- screw it, hyperactivity- would love to be in an environment that allowed them to do what they like, but would never force them to do other things. I don't know anybody my age with hyperactivity who didn't succeed without a process of careful attention to force them to learn how to do various things until it became a habit.
So, in a nutshell: how exactly is Montessori the best option?

Sorry, wrong on a number of counts (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26439103)

I happen to have a son who had ADD symptoms, and I have been aware of neurofeedback for quite a few years (from before some US idiots got hold of it and started to make all sorts of unwarranted claims which gave it a bad reputation).

It was initially EXTREMELY hard to get him to sit still, but the fact that it was a screen appeared to have helped. About 2 sessions further we were seeing extremely significant changes, in 6 sessions he appears to have learned enough control to do without it (circumstances meant we had to stop - we moved).

The neurofeedback concept is simple: it treats brain zones as "muscles" which you must learn to control. There is no worry my son would have faked the progress - at age 6 you don't have the required skills nor inclination.

I refuse to declare ANY treatment as a miracle cure, but the basics are sound, and I had the pleasure of working with UK's leading lights on this (who also refrain from anything that isn't hard science).

What's more, if you as a parent or an individual are facing the choice of either a life on speed (which is really what Ritalin is) which actually only "works" in 50% of cases, and makes more or a mess of the patient and their life than helps or try a treatment where it's very quickly clear that it helps or not (i.e. you won't spend a lifetime paying for something that doesn't work) it's very clear to me that trying is a must-do. Having said that, in the process of researching who would treat him I have come across a number of unqualified quacks who should be locked up instead of allowed to practice - it does need some form of quality control which is what a proper regulated approach could bring.

Sadly, all of that does rather sharply cut into pharma profits. And we wouldn't want to ruin that, would we? Ruining a child's future is a small price to pay, no? (in case you missed this, this is sarcasm).

If health services were REALLY interested in saving money they would fund more research - but that
would cut the government handouts in some countries. I have SEEN neurofeedback work, or I wouldn't have believed it either (and I most certainly would not have exposed my own son to it), and I have both a security and a scientific background. I believe only what I see, and I prefer proper scientific methodology for proof. And the proof is there. Denying this to kids is IMHO almost criminal - especially since it proves so quickly if you're on the right track.

I actually developed a model to commercialize this too (after the research) but I'm busy doing other stuff so I'm short of time right now :-(. It's not hard, but you MUST commit to funding further research or it'll have a short shelf life. And I never set up a business to run for just a few years, especially if it can help so many children.

Free brain training game - Brain Workshop (1)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26440343)

Brain Workshop [] is a free open-source version of the Dual N-Back mental exercise.

What if a simple mental exercise could improve your memory and intelligence?

A recent study published in PNAS, an important scientific journal, shows that a particular memory task called Dual N-Back actually improves working memory (short term memory) and fluid intelligence. This finding is important because fluid intelligence was previously thought to be unchangeable. The game involves remembering a sequence of spoken letters and a sequence of positions of a square at the same time.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the dual n-back task also enhances focus and attention and may help improve the symptoms of ADHD/ADD.

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