Trigeminal stimulation found promising for ADHD in children

Trigeminal stimulation found promising for ADHD in children

Trigeminal nerve stimulaton (TNS) was found to be safe and help alleviate symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, reports recent research.

The findings were presented at the 66th annual meeting of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded neuromodulation study demonstrated an estimated treatment effect with TNS therapy in youth, which is comparable to non-stimulant medications.

“Patients’ ADHD symptoms improved to about the same degree that we see with nonstimulant medications, and those improvements actually correlated with positive changes in spectral power as well,” says James J. McGough, MD, of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California in a news release.

TNS is a non-invasive, minimal-risk neuromodulation technique. Children with ADHD has not been subjected much to the TNS therapy study before. However, TNS may prove to be a promising addition to current treatment options for childhood ADHD, says the researchers.

“Our current approach to ADHD predominantly relies on medication. Acutely, we do pretty well. But medications also have their problems, such as side effects,” says Dr. McGough.

About 62 children aged 8 to 12 years, diagnosed with ADHD were involved in the study.
The children were randomly assigned to receive 4 weeks of nightly treatment with either active or sham TNS. The researchers noted that towards the end of the study, the treatment could produce about the same effect as that is seen with non-stimulant medications in ADHD.

“That was a robust and wonderful finding, suggesting that TNS is about as effective as, say, guanfacine or clonidine,” says Dr. McGough.

The findings showed a positive effect even a week after the cessation of the therapy in the TNS group.

However, additional studies would be required to determine the durability of the response and impact on brain development with the therapy, says the researchers.

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