1. AKL-T03 is a digital therapy that works by activating the brain’s fronto-parietal networks to increase attention and related attentional control processes.

 2. In this study, treatment with AKL-T03 led to a significant improvement in sustained attention in comparison to control, amongst patients with depression.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Concentration, decision-making, sluggish thinking, and forgetfulness are all reported challenges for those with major depressive disorder. Multiple studies have found that patients with depression score worse on neuropsychological tests of memory, attention, and executive function. Patients with significant depression and cognitive abnormalities have a restricted number of therapeutic options. The goal of the study was to see if AKL-T03, an investigational digital therapeutic device that triggers the fronto-parietal networks of the brain, might improve cognitive function in adults with depression and documented cognitive impairment.

 In this double-blind randomized controlled trial, patients aged 22-55 years old with residual mild-moderate depression and cognitive impairment whilst on stable antidepressant medication were included. Patients with comorbid psychiatric illnesses and active suicide risk or ideation were excluded. Patients were randomized to either the AKL-T03 intervention (n=37) or an educational-styled digital control (n=37). The primary outcome of the study assessed change in sustained attention from baseline, as measured by reaction time for performance using the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA).

Results demonstrated that AKL-T03 greatly improved performance on the primary outcome measure of sustained attention in adults when compared to the control condition. However, this study was limited as it used clinical research centers and particular inclusion and exclusion criteria, which could have restricted the generalizability of findings. Regardless, the intervention was well endured. The intervention’s digital aspect makes it more accessible to patients who would otherwise be unable to find a solution to their depression-related cognitive impairments.

Click to read study in: World Psychiatry

Image: PD

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