Innovations That Matter


New app could replace Ritalin

Health & Wellbeing

Researchers develop a game that could improve your focus

Spotted: Researchers at Cambridge University’s Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute have developed an app that could help sufferers of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The app, called Decoder, aims to help users improve concentration. The game sends users on virtual “missions” to foil an international criminal organisation. Users must remember and identify different sequences of numbers while being distracted. Every time the user successfully remembers a sequence, the app unlocks clues to the location of the “mission”.

Barbara Sahakian and George Savulich, co-inventors of the app, found that users who played Decoder saw improvements to concentration, with effects similar to those when taking stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or nicotine. The team’s research was published in the January 2019 edition of Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience. The app is currently available for iPhones, and will be available on Android later in 2019.




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