Chronic mental health disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are common diagnoses in children and adolescents. The traditional treatment of these diseases envisages the use of drugs and psychotherapy. An international consortium, under the leadership of Professor Michael Siniatchkin of the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University (CAU), is investigating an alternative treatment method, in which the brain is stimulated with low amplitude direct current. The scientists and researchers also want to develop a device that enables treatment at home. As part of the "Horizon 2020" programme, the European Commission is funding the STIPED (STImulation in PEDiatrics) research project with a total of six million Euro over five years. Around two million Euro of the funding will go to Kiel University. The scientists involved started the research project last Thursday (February 2, 2017) with a kick-off meeting in Kiel, Germany.
Chronic mental health disorders are proven to reduce the quality of life of those suffering from ADHD or ASD, as they can be a heavy social and also financial burden for the families. Traditional treatment options such as pharmacotherapy and behavioural therapy are not adequate for many children and adolescents and present multiple side effects. STIPED aims to investigate an alternative tDCS based treatment in which the brain is stimulated with low amplitude direct currents. STIPED suggests a simple treatment option, which may easily be integrated into the everyday life through its home platform.
A total of five clinical studies are planned with healthy, ADHD and ASD children. In addition to the children and their families, caregivers and teachers will also be involved in the relevant aspects of the studies. This will ensure that the new treatment integrates well into the daily life of the patients, and that any possible concerns and requirements are adequately considered. Secure, continuous monitoring of the symptoms and the stimulation response is ensured. Medical appointments and health-care costs can thereby be reduced, and at the same time the acceptance of the treatment is increased. In addition to the treatment of ADHD and ASD, the project will also enable the development of new treatment options for a wide variety of other chronic mental health disorders.
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