First double-blind controlled trial of TNS shows reduced symptoms in some children with ADHD

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Summary: Researchers report trigeminal nerve stimulation, administered during sleep, is both effective and safe for treating ADHD in children. The study reveals the treatment helps to reduce behavioral symptoms of ADHD and increases activity in brain circuits that modulate hyperactivity.

Currently approved in Canada and Europe for adults with medication-resistant depression and seizures, trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) has been found to be an effective and safe means of treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reports a study published in the April 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

TNS utilizes a small stimulator worn on a child’s clothes to emit a low-level current, powered by a 9-volt battery. Thin wires are connected to the device with an adhesive electrode patch worn across the forehead during sleep. Mild stimulation to the skin, barely or not perceptible to the child, led to activation of deeper brain areas associated with concentration and impulse control. Children wore the patch an average of eight hours nightly and patches were removed each morning.

TNS has beneficial effects by increasing activity in brain circuits that modulate hyperactivity and impulsivity. Study results further suggested that TNS might be effective in reducing pediatric anxiety symptoms, consistent with other studies of TNS for adult depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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