Treating ADHD with Video Games

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C8 Sciences has raised the first part of a $1.1 million fundraise in a move the CEO hopes will help it advance product development and build its customer base.

The goal is to sharpen working memory. The company’s name actually derives from the eight core cognitive capacities of the brain. In an interview in the Hartford Courant last year, CEO Ken Coleman said working memory was a better predictor of school success than IQ tests.

The C8Pro tool combines computer gaming with physical exercise. It collects data on user performance so healthcare professionals can track performance. It is based on the concept of neuroplasticity -’ that the brain can dynamically grow, change, heal and accomplish complex tasks that sometimes seem impossible, according to the website.

Dr. Bruce Wexler’s approach to ADHD is based on his work with adults with schizophrenia. He developed computer-based brain exercises to target and remediate the neural systems that are responsible for helping people learn, think, act and behave. By applying this to children, whose brains are at a much earlier stage of development and more plastic, there’s the potential for a more significant behavior change.

In an emailed response to questions, Coleman said it’s in the process of raising seed capital. Currently in the early stages of commercialization, it hopes to use fresh capital to complete its build-out of its next product releases and our sales and marketing program.

“Our milestones from this round are to have enough referenceable customers by the end of 2013 to begin rapid scale-up in the winter selling season. We also expect to be raising a next (series A) round of capital in early 2014.”

He added that the company’s funding has come from angels and backing from Connecticut Innovations, the state venture capital organization that helps startups.

The company has two founders. Wexler is a senior research scientist and professor emeritus of psychiatry with Yale School of Medicine and director of the Neurocognitive Research Laboratory at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Jinxia Dong, a director of the Research Center for Sports Studies and Society at Peking University in China, helped develop the physical exercise component of the program.

The idea is to have a non-pharmaceutical alternative to improving outcomes for children diagnosed with ADHD. Part of the financial groundwork for the company was laid with a $4 million grant from the NIH.