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Transl Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 12;6:e781. doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.45.

Training sensory signal-to-noise resolution in children with ADHD in a global mental health setting.

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Sandler Neurosciences Center, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Posit Science Corporation, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have impaired focus on goal-relevant signals and fail to suppress goal-irrelevant distractions. To address both these issues, we developed a novel neuroplasticity-based training program that adaptively trains the resolution of challenging sensory signals and the suppression of progressively more challenging distractions. We evaluated this sensory signal-to-noise resolution training in a small sample, global mental health study in Indian children with ADHD. The children trained for 30 h over 6 months in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Training completers showed steady and significant improvements in ADHD-associated behaviors from baseline to post training relative to controls, and benefits sustained in a 6-month follow-up. Post-training cognitive assessments showed significant positive results for response inhibition and Stroop interference tests in training completers vs controls, while measures of sustained attention and short-term memory showed nonsignificant improvement trends. Further, training-driven improvements in distractor suppression correlated with the improved ADHD symptoms. This initial study suggests utility of signal-to-noise resolution training for children with ADHD; it emphasizes the need for further research on this intervention and substantially informs the design of a larger trial.

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