Chronic mental health disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are common diagnoses in children and adolescents. The traditional treatment of these diseases envisages the use of drugs and psychotherapy. The STIPED project is investigating an alternative treatment method, in which the brain is stimulated with low amplitude direct current. The scientists and researchers also want to develop a device that enables treatment at home.
Chronic mental health disorders are proven to reduce the quality of life of those suffering from ADHD or ASD, as they can be a heavy social and also financial burden for the families. Traditional treatment options such as pharmacotherapy and behavioural therapy are not adequate for many children and adolescents. STIPED aims to investigate an alternative transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) based treatment in which the brain is stimulated with low amplitude direct currents. STIPED suggests a simple treatment option, which may easily be integrated into the everyday life through its home platform.
A total of five clinical studies are planned with healthy, ADHD and ASD children. In addition to the children and their families, caregivers and teachers will also be involved in the relevant aspects of the studies. This will ensure that the new treatment integrates well into the daily life of the patients, and that any possible concerns and requirements are adequately considered. Parallel to the studies, the consortium is also working on the development of a special electrode cap, with which the patients can be treated directly at home - supported by a personal telemental health service. By means of this medical care from a distance, a secure, continuous monitoring of the symptoms and of the stimulation response is ensured.
Medical appointments and health-care costs can thereby be reduced, and at the same time the acceptance of the treatment is increased. In addition to the treatment of ADHD and ASD, the project will also enable the development of new treatment options for a wide variety of other chronic mental health disorders.
The project is funded as part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with a total of six million Euro over five years. The STIPED consortium, led by the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (Germany) consists of 10 partners combining clinical and scientific knowledge.
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