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T-06: Fresh Insights on Health: Lessons Learned from Mobile Game Use to Train Attention and Planning in Teens

Poster Presenter

      Candice M Hughes

      • CEO/Founder
      • Hughes BioPharma Advisers LLC
        United States


Using a real-life example, this poster will provide insights about challenges and potential of digital health, a new field that is complex and multi-disciplinary.


This study of an app, measuring and monitoring attention and strategy in teens and tweens with ADHD, was conducted in the Northeast US. Subjects (with and without ADHD) played one or more game rounds then were interviewed or completed a survey. Data was also auto-collected from an in-game dashboard.


Analysis of scores indicated that both children with and without ADHD improve attention and, to some extent, strategy scores over multiple rounds of game play. Some children with ADHD took longer, up to 8 rounds of game play to show improvement in attention scores. While non-ADHD children consistently improved their score in 2-3 rounds. A total of 75% of players indicated they enjoyed the game. The primary reason for not indicating enjoyment of the game was expectation of a game with qualities of an AAA (top tier) entertainment game.


Initial test results regarding learning are intriguing, suggesting that attention and strategy scores can be increased in children with ADHD as well as in non-ADHD children, and underscore the attractiveness of health and educational games for training attention in children and teens with ADHD. Further, the positive findings suggest that investment in larger scale studies of the game to provide sufficient data for statistical analysis are warranted. The test successfully enabled direction of limited funds into revisions of the beta game where the players would experience the strongest positive impact: rewards badging, animated tutorial sequences and improved music and sound. A number of challenges in developing products for this space were noted. First, partnerships with universities or larger firms are necessary to scale testing, but are not easily identified. Uncertainty regarding regulatory pathways has resulted in a split within a community where few members are knowledgeable about healthcare regulation. Increasingly, for tools viewed as medical devices, demands for highly stringent clinical trials come from community members or investors. Often demands are for a stringency higher than those required for pharmaceutical therapy. Others, as was done in this study, develop educational tools. Digital health offers a strong pathway for industry growth, but uncertainties and challenges can hold back innovations.

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