UCSF Attention Training Studies

Is your child between 12-16 years old?

Researchers at UCSF are studying new attention training approaches.

This study is recruiting right-handed children and involves at home iPad-based video game play and requires up to 9 visits to UCSF (3 prior to and after video game play and three at a 6-month follow up), each visit lasting about 2 hours.

At end of these studies, you will be compensated at a rate of $15/hour for your total time commitment, up to $500.

Directions and additional information

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions About the Study

Is my child eligible?

Your child may be eligible if :

  • Right handed
  • He/she is between the ages of 12-16 years
What are your clinic hours? Are weekends an option or only during the week?

The clinic hours are very flexible. We run 6 days a week, including weekends. We do not run on Mondays. During the week we typically can do 1pm-10pm and weekends are 9am-2pm. We will do our best to work around your schedule.

When can we begin the study?

We will first send a parent or guardian a set of online questionnaires to determine your child’s eligibility. As soon as the surveys and questionnaires are completed, we will see if your child is eligible for the study. If so, we can start scheduling as soon as possible.

Will my child’s identity and information be protected?

Yes! We assign your child a unique number as an identifier. One survey in which your child’s name is associated with it will be through a secure website. Emails containing personal and sensitive information, including DOB, diagnosis, medications and dosage, will be through a secure email.

What is the general outline of the study?

We have a screening phase to make sure your child is eligible that consists of two parent surveys. If your child is eligible, we will then schedule the 3 pre-intervention sessions:
1. & 2.  Two EEG and cognitive testing sessions (2 hours each)
3. MRI and cognitive testing session (2-3 hours)

Followed by this, we will move to at-home training on an iPad:
Play an iPad game 5 times per week week for 6 weeks (30 minutes each)

The training will be followed by a post-training phase, which has 3 sessions:
1. & 2. Two EEG and cognitive testing sessions (2 hours each)
3. MRI and cognitive testing session (2 hours)

Six months after completing these sessions, we will ask your child to come back for a final 3 sessions:
1. & 2. Two EEG and cognitive testing sessions (2 hours each)
3. MRI and cognitive testing session (2 hours)

General Questions About Medications, Therapies, and More

My child plays video games and brain games. Is this a problem?

If your child regularly play video games, we ask that they are not brain training games or attention games. We also ask that you let us know what video games and how frequently they play.

Training Questions

Will you share the pre and post assessment with us?

Yes we can! It is important to remember that the results of your child is in a research setting and should not be used to make clinical diagnosis or decisions.

Are the personalized games all geared to improving attention, WM, etc. Are any of the games you are testing make attention worse? Or are they all researched technologies which you currently believe lead to improvement? Are these games designed by UCSF or a private company?

Yes all our personalized games and neurotech approaches are geared towards improvement, and none to make it worse. Our tech is all designed in-house in our lab at UCSF.

MRI Questions

Do the MRI's include contrast injections?

No they do not.

Can my child be given medication to sleep during the MRI?

No. We cannot give any medications to your child. However, we will let them log into your family Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon accounts to watch a movie or show throughout the scan.

My child already had an MRI performed. Does my child need to re-do the MRI?

It depends on how long ago the scan occurred. We do prefer to do our own scans to make sure it is recent, however if it occurred in the last year, we may be able to use the scans you already have.

Does the MRI machine allow for movies to be watched? We are trying to understand how problematic this could be for our child.

Yes! We can let your child watch a movie for the last 12 minutes of the scan. We can play a video you bring in or have you sign into your own Netflix account and pick a show. Another option is to listen to music.

Can we get a copy of the MRI photos?

We can send you a few images of the photos and we are more than happy to transfer the files to a flash drive you bring in (the drive must have at least 1 GB of free space).

Can I get a report of my MRI?

The MRI scans in this research protocol do not comprise a comprehensive clinical MRI examination of the brain. Also our research scientists conducting this study are not trained to identify brain abnormalities in MRI images like radiologists, so they might not notice a problem even if one may exist. Our scan is purely for research purposes. It is non-diagnostic and we are unable to provide an MRI report for you.

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