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About Sickkids
About SickKids

June 14, 2012

SickKids working on world’s first comprehensive diagnosis, therapeutic and reporting software tool for treatment of childhood ADD/ADHD

By Elisabeth Laratta

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) has partnered with universities and private sector companies to help accelerate the commercialization of neurotechnologies thanks to a contribution of nearly $11 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). An innovative software-based tool being developed with the assistance of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is one of 14 projects supported by the funding.

SickKids and Dr. Russell Schachar, Staff Psychiatrist, are assisting Behavioral Neurological Applications and Solutions Inc. in developing the world’s first comprehensive diagnosis, therapeutic and reporting software tool for the treatment of childhood attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The goal is to create a game for children that is both engaging and therapeutic. The developers plan to design and market this offering within the next 24 to 30 months.

“We’re working on a cognitive training program first and foremost for children with ADHD but we intend to expand it to be an assessment and reporting tool as well. No such program exists in this sector for this disorder,” says Schachar.

The developers expect to eventually expand the program outside the realm of ADD/ADHD treatment.

“There are many children seen at SickKids and elsewhere who have problems in thinking, acting and feeling. ADHD is a classic example but many children with other problems, such as traumatic brain injuries or those who have undergone radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment, may experience these problems. We hope that this program will eventually be suitable to assist those children as well.”

SickKids is one of 28 organizations partnering with OBI to create neurotechnology devices, develop cognitive training software packages, and enhance imaging technologies to help advance and improve disease diagnosis, intervention and treatment. The funded projects will also contribute to growing Ontario’s neuroscience sector, enhancing the competitiveness of local brain technologies to market in Canada and abroad.

“There is an effort on the part of OBI and FedDev Ontario to encourage scientists to think about the tangible projects that might arise from their research. This is not a traditional way that scientists think but it’s important,” says Schachar. “Commercial, widely usable products are an important consideration in research and that’s being encouraged. Discovery comes from many directions but sometimes you need commercial support to bring scientific ideas to marketplace.”

The investment supports the Government of Canada’s science, technology and innovation agenda. In addition to the federal funding, these 14 projects have leveraged more than $11 million in private-sector investments.