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Medicine Entertainment Games

Treating ADHD With Games 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-thought-games-were-a-symptom dept.
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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Treating ADHD With Games

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  • Weird. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kesch (943326)

      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 c

      • 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...

        Example:

        This NEW Video Game can help your children:

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by 4D6963 (933028)

        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?

      • by Valdrax (32670)

        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.

        Isn't rewarding aggression what nearly every violent video game does?

    • 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

      • 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?
      • 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!

      • by hedwards (940851)

        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 ca

        • by Golddess (1361003)
          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).
      • by FreakWent (627155)

        Your education has been sadly neglected, and accordingly you don't know what you are talking about. I'm sorry.

    • by djupedal (584558)

      Thank You Sir!

      May I have another!!!??

    • 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.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      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.

      • 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.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      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!

  • Retraining (Score:3, Funny)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:43AM (#26428843) Journal
    First pos... oh, a pretty sound. I should do something else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RuBLed (995686)
      I think /. also have this, you see everytime I post something informative like, ADHD is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, I lose my
  • 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 R
    • by Kesch (943326) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:59AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)
        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 acc
      • by spiralx (97066)

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TaoPhoenix (980487)

      Wrong.

      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.

    • 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.
    • 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.

      • by spiralx (97066)

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

        • I already know about that. Where is the evidence that this can't be changed? Or that it isn't a relative difference, but a fundamental one?

          • by spiralx (97066)

            How would you change the structure of every receptor of that type in the brain?

            As for whether it's relative or fundamental, I'd say both - there's increasing evidence of genetic causes and recognition that it is a lifelong condition... adult ADHD is still only a relatively recent diagnosis, before that it was assumed to be a developmental problem. But it's relative in that while some estimates say up to 5% of adults may suffer from it, there's a spectrum of severity and so different solutions for different

      • by hedwards (940851)

        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

    • 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 de
    • by drik00 (526104)

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

      • by Muad'Dave (255648)
        I love cheesing off people by pronouncing it "Rye-tal-lin" (middle syllable rhymes with pal) like they did in TOS [wikipedia.org]. Gotta love hearing Bones pronounce that. They used it to treat an epidemic - foreshadowing?
    • by paul.tap (717722)
      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 inte
    • by hedwards (940851)

      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 AD

    • 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 b

    • by SeePage87 (923251)
      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 mental
      • 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 like a turret's "Tic". Try reading a page of boring social studies homework when 1 million different instances of interuption are occuring.

        The things that would interupt a normal person doing homework vs. AD(H)D not a phone call, a unique color in the peripheral vision. Not someone yelling, but the slightest sound in the quietest room, not a horn h

        • THAT'S EXACTLY HOW I FEEL ALL THE TIME!!!!!

          Not trying to yell, just showing emphatic agreement.

          And my wife is the same way, so you're not alone there either (no surprise huh).

          So do you see a doc, do you take meds, or do you just do work on it yourself? My md says my ins co won't allow him to do referrals, but they say I just need to find my own doc. So I'm totally confused but I know that I need to talk to someone... Not only do I have ADD/ADHD (diagnosed in the 1980s) but I haven't had any treatment or

  • Future hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:53AM (#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.

  • 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?

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Maybe someone can crank out some cheap SQUIDs?

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

    • by JuzzFunky (796384)
      I have done some work with a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating kids with ADHD. He uses a few very simple computer games that are controlled with EEG Biofeedback. One of the games is a simplified pac-man game. When the user is well focused and their brainwaves are in the Beta (12-30 Hz) the pac-man stays bright yellow and moves automatically through a maze. If they start to drift off then the pac-man fades to brown and slows down. If they totally zone out into la-la-land then the pac-man
  • 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 "wrrr

    • by EMeta (860558)
      Or a small message telling you that the Princess is in another castle?
    • 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? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by skeeto (1138903)

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

      Hey, wanna go ride bikes?!

  • 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" [msn.com], 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.

    • by seebs (15766) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:28AM (#26429175) Homepage

      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.

      Sometimes.

      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.

      • by rolfwind (528248)

        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 feedb

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)

          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 si

          • by loafula (1080631)
            You make me wish I had mod points. +1 Insightful
          • by seebs (15766)

            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 chan

            • 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.

              Oh, totally. But when my boss needs someone to write 6 months of nothing but writing automated regression tests, shit, forget it.

              • Ugh. That should read:

                Oh, totally. But when my boss needs someone to spend 6 months of nothing but writing automated regression tests, shit, forget it.

          • Well said and accurate, which is important since nearly everyone else commenting on this story has the picture wrong.
          • I worked in an extremely High stress environment, and I'd have to say this article opened up conversation that really overwhelms me with a sense of community. I am not alone.

            You described me perfectly when you stated these things:

            "It's not that students aren't interested in getting along in school, it's that they can't even if they want to."

            I wasn't lucky enough to have a teacher who picked up on it. I found out in my mid 20's when hope of going to a good 4yr school was long gone. My father was like, you

            • I was diagnosed when I was 6 and took Ritalin on and off throughout school. It was so funny when I went from never ever finishing anything on time to being done with my work faster than my classmates thought was possible. I was able to work circles around them.
              Slashdot and the rest of the Internet are terribly distracting for someone with A(H)DD.
              • by tyrus568 (644456)
                I'm afraid that doesn't seem to say much. I would assume that most people who would take speed for classwork would "work circles around" their classmates...
          • thank you.

            Well said, I wish I could just get half the people in my life to read this thread, and that I could point out your post and one or two others. I am so happy to have the community and brotherhood (non-gender-specific of course, just a word ;] ) that discussions like this reinforce.

        • by seebs (15766)

          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 "foc

          • Are you INTP by chance? That's part of it too, the setting things down and not finding them again later, because they drift into the background...

      • 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.
        • Is that I can't stop what I've started. This leads to many things, like 48hrs w/ no sleep so I could fix a computer that was worthless, but I knew I could do it w/o reformatting because a friend didn't want it formatted. The # 1 problem is achieving a certain goal through a project then stopping the project. This one gets me a lot. It's like I have no control over it, I am off to the next thing like a Ricer sitting next to an obviously superior car at the sign of a green light.

          It even frustrates me, but

      • by SeePage87 (923251)

        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 hav

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mr_mischief (456295)

          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 dopamin

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

            The only time I have ever "Snapped" at someone was when I was in a state of intense concentration. It's totally iritating to have someone Pop that focus bubble.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by seebs (15766)

          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 te

    • 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

  • 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

  • ..as 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.

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

  • 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 [gizmodo.com]. 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 suppos
    • 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.

      That's another reason I don't take my meds. It's almost like I am afraid to be normal.

  • I read about this in CHADD almost ten years ago.
  • 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 o

    • 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 R

    • by seebs (15766)

      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.

    • by cheros (223479)

      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 addre

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

  • by cj1127 (1077329)
    I guess if it worked for Angry German Kid...
  • 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 pe

    • by seebs (15766)

      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.

    • by millia (35740)

      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

    • 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 mea

      • by seebs (15766)

        Thanks for the really informative post.

        Me, I'm fine with being on speed much of the time -- but I wouldn't mind at all finding other techniques to help me cope.

        Any feedback on how it affected memory? I can mostly handle forcing myself to pay attention to things, but my memory's crap.

        • by cheros (223479)

          You're welcome. I got riled a bit by those who were dismissing this technique without knowing the most basic details, and given the large amount of children it can help I found that disappointing. Having said that, I admit that the spectacular nature of some of the results is indeed sometimes hard to believe.

          With respect to memory I'm no expert so I can only theorize that a short attention span doesn't allow for much imprinting time. It may be worth it for you to study mnemonics, the art of linking and a

  • Brain Workshop [sourceforge.net] 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 letter

  • Video games are the cause of ADHD! The brain processes so much and so fast, simulating motion, when in fact the body doesn't experience any motion. When you're off the same, your body is still (because you become so lazy), yet your brain wants more interactive gaming, right then and now.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340

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