Digital health companies highlight value of rigorous validation

Digital health is a relatively young area of healthcare, but some companies have been around long enough to prove the value of their technologies in clinical studies over time. That’s also thanks in part to deciding early on to seek FDA clearance for their software as a drug or treatment. In a panel discussion at Health Datapalooza last week, WellDoc Chief Strategy Officer Anand Iyer and Akili Interactive Labs Cofounder and CEO Eddie Martucci offered some insight on how their rigorous approaches have made it easier to demonstrate their products’ value.

UCSF study shows Akili's Project EVO game improves cognitive control in children with sensory processing disorder

There’s plenty of debate about the impact of consumer-level computer or video games on children’s brains. But a new study from the University of California, San Francisco published in PLOS One shows that, in a clinical setting, games that have been developed to function as a medical device may be beneficial to children with certain cognitive impairments.

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Akili Interactive is reimagining the definition of medicine: It has a video game-based treatment for ADHD in phase 3 and is developing the tech for diagnostic purposes as well. And G-Therapeutics is working on restoring lower limb function in people with spinal cord injuries using a combination of a neurostimulator and gravity-assisted training.

This app uses a game to fight depression

A game-based app for phones and tablets called Project: EVO seems to help older adults with depression feel better by targeting underlying cognitive conditions, such as attention and focus, according to two recent studies.

“We found that moderately depressed people do better with apps like this because they address or treat correlates of depression,” says Patricia Areán, a University of Washington School of Medicine researcher in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Akili, Pfizer successfully gamify Alzheimer's

Back in 2014, Pfizer teamed up with Akili Interactive Labs to see if a video game could really detect early signs of Alzheimer’s. Now, the pair is presenting data showing that Akili’s tech can differentiate between patients with and without brain amyloidosis, and could lay the foundation for a noninvasive way to detect amyloid deposits in the brain.

Meet the Designers Hoping to Treat ADHD and Alzheimer's with Gaming

Could a doctor treating ADHD or Alzheimer’s one day prescribe a video game? Eddie Martucci and Matthew Omernick think so -- and the cofounders of Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs recently raised more than $30 million from pharma companies, government grants and investors who agree. The team’s tablet-based game, EVO, guides players (er, patients) through a series of foreign worlds, where they collect stars and gems and interact with aliens. What seems like superficial play at first is actually carefully designed to improve attention, inhibition and working memory in kids with ADHD.

Akili gets $30.5 million investment for 'digital medicine' games

Games-for-health startup Akili has secured a $30.5 million investment for the development of apps to treat ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, depression, Alzheimer's, and trauamtic brain injury. 

The company calls its games "digital medicine" and will use the money to fund further development of its apps and seek potential approval from the U.S.' Food and Drug Administration with a view toward a 2017 launch of its "digital medicine platform."

The Global Search for Education: Your Mission Is to Play!

Project: EVO is a mobile game platform that trains your brain to ignore distractions and stay focused. Pilot study results reveal that the game improved attention and working memory in pediatric Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s not the first time that research has recognized that playing video games can have a positive impact on student development.

2 Companies Seek FDA Approval for Brain Games to Treat ADHD

From baby boomers fearing memory loss to college students wanting a mental boost, interest in brain-training products is soaring. Yet among leading scientists, there is persistent scrutiny and skepticism. Last year 70 cognitive researchers signed a statement speaking out against computer-based games that promise better cognitive performance, citing a lack of scientific evidence to back such claims.