European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1563–1574 | Cite as

Attention and executive functions computer training for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): results from a randomized, controlled trial

  • Aida BikicEmail author
  • James F. Leckman
  • Torben Ø. Christensen
  • Niels Bilenberg
  • Søren Dalsgaard
Original Contribution


Multicenter randomized clinical superiority single-blind trial investigated the effect of a computer training program targeting multiple cognitive functions. Seventy children with ADHD, aged 6–13, were randomized to intervention or control group. The intervention group used ACTIVATE™ for 8 weeks and both groups received treatment as usual and were assessed in regard to cognitive functions, symptoms, behavioral and functional outcome measures after 8, 12 and 24 weeks. There was no significant effect on the primary outcome, sustained attention (β = − 0.047; CI − 0.247 to 0.153) or the secondary outcomes [parent-rated ADHD-RS, β = − 0.037; CI (− 0.224 to 0.150); teacher-rated-ADHD-RS, β = 0.093; CI (− 0.107 to 0.294); parent-rated-BRIEF, β = − 0.119; CI (− 0.307 to 0.069); and teacher-rated-BRIEF, β = 0.136; CI (− 0.048 to 0.322)]. This multicenter randomized clinical trial found no significant beneficial effects of cognitive training using the computer program ACTIVATE on the primary or secondary outcome measures in children with ADHD. Nevertheless, our study was likely underpowered to detect small to moderate changes.

Trial registration NCT01752530, date of registration: December 10, 2012.


ADHD Cognitive training Cognitive remediation Executive function training Computer training Non-pharmacological treatment 



We would like to thank to the participants of the trial and the funding organizations: TrygFonden (Grant no. 7-12-1137), Psychiatric Foundation of Region Southern Denmark, The Region of Southern Denmark’s Ph.D. pool and University of Southern Denmark for financial support. We would like to thank Professor Bruce Wexler from Yale University for providing access and IT support to ACTIVATE™. Thanks to Anders Bo Bøjesen, Region of Southern Denmark, for valuable input and help with the statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None. The author group was not involved in the development of the intervention. The company owing copyrights to the intervention program had no influence of the design of the study, analyses or presentation of the data or the decision to publish the findings.

Supplementary material

787_2018_1151_MOESM1_ESM.docx (100 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 99 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Southern JutlandRegion of Southern DenmarkAabenraaDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Yale Child Study CentreYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Psychiatric DepartmentRegion NordjyllandBrønderslevDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services OdensePsychiatric Hospital Region of SouthernOdenseDenmark
  6. 6.Department of Economics and Business, National Centre for Register-based ResearchAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  7. 7.The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCHAarhusDenmark
  8. 8.Department for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryHospital of TelemarkKragerøNorway

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