Transcranial pulse stimulation can also be used for attention deficit disorder (ADHD)

New double-blind study shows that TPS has significant therapeutic effects in ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD for short) is another area of clinical research in the context of the application of transcranial pulse stimulation (TPS).

A recent double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study presented at the International PAIRS Congress, 8-12 May in Hong Kong, conducted by the Mental Health Research Centre at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, shows that TPS neurostimulation can also be used effectively and safely as a treatment option for patients with ADHD.

ADHD: Cause still unknown, prevalence numbers rising worldwide

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD for short, is a neurological disorder characterized primarily by three symptom groups: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but there is evidence that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. There is no cure for the disorder yet.

ADHD symptoms typically begin in childhood and can continue into adulthood. Children with ADHD often have difficulty in school and in social situations, and adults may have difficulties at work and in relationships.

The prevalence of ADHD varies by country and applied diagnostic criteria, but it has been estimated that ADHD affects approximately 5-7% of children and 2-5% of adults worldwide.

To date, there are several therapeutic approaches to treating ADHD. One commonly used method is behavioural therapy, which aims to change certain behaviours and develop skills to manage symptoms. Drug therapy with stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or amphetamines is another common method. These drugs are supposed to help reduce the symptoms of ADHD, but they also have many potential side effects.

New approaches in ADHD therapy: the use of the neurostimulation method TPS in adolescents

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University double-blind study, led by Dr Teris Cheung, investigated and evaluated the efficacy and safety of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) in young subjects aged 13 to 17 years suffering from ADHD. The strict inclusion criteria for the study included a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD without comorbidity of other mental disorders or organic brain diseases. All study participants were comprehensively examined before the start of the study (including functional MRI).

The adolescents were randomly divided into two groups by computer: Half were treated with transcranial pulse stimulation, while the other half received sham treatments. Both groups participated in six 30-minute TPS sessions over a two-week period. In the sham treatment group, modified parameters were used and the application handpiece was modified to ensure that no TPS shock waves were delivered. However, the typical sounds and stimuli were still present. In all subjects, the TPS shock waves were applied to the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).

After two weeks of TPS treatment, participants in the verum group were assessed for attention deficits, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and oppositional defiant behaviour using the Swanson, Nolan, and Pelham Assessment Scale (SNAP-IV), and the results were compared with those of the sham TPS group. In addition, MRI scans were performed again. These follow-up examinations were repeated after one and after three months.

Significant results: TPS could become proven additive ADHD therapy

The authors, led by Dr Teris Cheung, found significant intervention effects in all ADHD symptoms (SNAP-IV and ADHD RS-IV), executive functions (reaction time in the Stroop test, digit span (OS) – forward) and clinical global impression (CGI) in terms of severity of the disorder, improvement in symptoms and total score. Parents of the adolescents also reported significant changes and improved cognitive behaviour. Placebo effects were observed in the sham group.

The researchers believe that transcranial pulse stimulation (TPS) has great potential as an additive treatment for ADHD. The authors conclude that their findings can have a significant impact on the future treatment of ADHD and thus on society as a whole – also in view of the fact that drug therapies and psychotherapeutic measures require long-term use and are associated with high costs. They hope that the future use of TPS can also help to reduce the psychological burden on affected families in the future.

Further randomized controlled trials with a larger number of subjects and a longer follow-up period are needed to confirm the results from Hong Kong.

The study, which was published in Frontiers of Neurology, can be read here:

The poster can be seen here:

The effectiveness of treatment with Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) shock wave therapy has already been proven by numerous studies:

Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) – Studies