Boston Children’s Hospital spin-out Mightier is teaming up with Magellan Health to study how the former’s video-game like therapy can improve emotional regulation for children, thanks to a $2 million National Institute of Mental Health grant.
The pair will be launching a new study to evaluate the impact of Mightier’s biofeedback video game platform on improving behavior and in children with mental health disorders including ADHD, anxiety and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Magellan plans to recruit around 200 children from various health plans.
The technology combines 25 mobile games with a special heart rate monitoring band. The games are aimed at helping children learn coping mechanisms like visualization and controlled breathing.
Over the summer, the pair announced they were working on another pilot to evaluate the Mightier video game on children with autism or other behavioral health issues. The pilot was slated to run for six months and would be provided to 100 children. The company said the results of this research should be released in the coming months.
WHY IT MATTERS
ADHD is a very common condition in children. The CDC estimates that 6.1 million children in the U.S, are living with the condition. The agency found that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than girls (12.9% compared to 5.6%).
THE LARGER TREND
Since its launch, the company has raised over $10.35 million in funding. After it closed its last funding round in 2019, the company said it would put the money towards more tools.
This isn’t the only startup looking to use video-game like tools to improve outcomes for children with ADHD. In June, Akili Interactive finally received its much awaited FDA De Novo marketing authorization for EndeavorRx, a video-game digital therapeutic for kids 8 to 12 with ADHD. The tool is a prescription digital therapeutic designed to help reprogram the brain.
ON THE RECORD
"Teaching children emotional regulation, a core life skill, is a powerful insulator against stress and symptoms of many common pediatric mental health disorders," said Dr. Jason Kahn, chief science officer and cofounder of Mightier, in a statement.
"This study has the potential to advance pediatric mental services for millions of families. Magellan's collaboration further demonstrates their commitment to innovative solutions in the field of mental health."