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Therapeutic Video Game, "Project: EVO" Makes Headlines

March 16, 2015

In 2015 Autism Speaks' not-for-profit affiliate DELSIA announced new funding for the clinical testing of a therapeutic video game, called "Project: Evo," designed to improve executive function skills in children and adolescents affected by autism. Now, other news outlets are covering the story. 

From our press release:

DELSIA's newest grant invests in the clinical development of Project: EVO, by Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs. Earlier research on EVO’s prototype demonstrated that it engages brain pathways involved in executive brain functions including attention, focus and problem solving. Many people with autism have impaired executive function, and these impairments are associated with poor outcomes, other studies have shown.

Recently, BuzzFeed reported the story:

Akili plans to test Project: EVO in children with a dual diagnosis of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It will be years before clinical trials prove whether the game actually works. If it does, it may prove to be an anomaly in the cognitive training software market, a billion-dollar industry some scientists fear is built on exaggerated health claims.

“The science is pretty strong,” Benjamin Yerys, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told BuzzFeed News. “In fact, I would say this is probably a new gold standard in terms of what they’ve been able to accomplish relative to a lot of other previous treatment studies that have tried to use video games or game training or ‘edutainment.’”

MYFOXNY also covered the story, and interviewed Autism Speaks' head of discovery neuroscience, Dan Smith, about the game.

"If you think about when you go to the gym, you can work out specific muscle groups; this game works out specific types of muscles or pathways in the brain," Smith said.