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Hi. My name is Thom, and I have ADHD.

And not in the way that people mean when they say, "I have ADHD!" because we live in a world of flashy glass pocket-computers, instant gratification, and a constant bombardment of information overload.

I mean that I am diagnosed with ADHD. My brain functions differently than most people's, and I employ a combination of medication and rigorous behavioral discipline to help me thrive in a world that runs counter to my way of thinking.


There are lots of different theories about the causes of ADHD, but one thing is certain: I don't really care that much for video games.

But scientists in Durham, North Carolina, might just change my mind. They've found a way to use video games to treat the symptoms of ADHD.

NEURO+ was created by Jake Stauch, a cognitive neuroscience student and researcher at Duke University, in collaboration with the nearby Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill.

The idea for an ADHD video came came to Stauch while he was working on a project that used electroencephalogram (EEG) readings to measure people's subconscious responses to television advertisements. As he explained in an interview with Houston's ABC13 News, he started to wonder if the technology could be used to help kids with attention problems.

GIFset via ABC13 Eyewitness News.

Here's what one NEURO+ gamer had to say about his experience using the brain-controlled video game:


GIFset via Jake Stauch.

You know what's cooler than video games? Using your telekinetic ADHD superpowers to control dragons.

Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely no evidence for a correlation between video games and ADHD (or sugary drinks, for that matter). But ADHDers do have much higher thresholds for keeping our attention — one of our little quirks is that our brains don't reward us with the same chemical highs as neurotypical people, which is part of why mundane tasks get away from us so easily.

That being said, the kinetic energy of video games does tend to itch that little pleasure center in the brain. The aim of NEURO+ is to help us use that to our advantage.

A screenshot from "Axon," one of the NEURO+ games, via ABC13 Eyewitness News. #TelekineticADHDdragons

To maximize that brain control, the NEURO+ system relies on a kind of behavioral therapy called Neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback helps you work together with your brain to train yourself in better habits. The game itself essentially rewards you for focusing and sitting still, with the eventual goal of conditioning your mind to associate the excitement of telekinetically controlling a dragon with, say, combing through a spreadsheet at work (which, if you're anything like me, is pretty much the worst thing ever).

While neurofeedback has been clinically classified as a "Level 1 Best Support" intervention for ADHD, it's still not an FDA-approved treatment for the condition. It certainly helps some people, particularly when used in conjunction with therapy and medication. But don't expect to play some NEURO+ video games and then wake up one day completely ADHD-free. That's not how it works (nor should it).

I don't know. I just found this in a quick search and really wanted a picture here. Photo by Amen Clinic via Flickr.

Life with ADHD isn't all just fun and games and "ooh, look, shiny objects." It's a struggle and a superpower all at once.

Like many neurological or behavioral conditions, ADHD is egregiously misunderstood. Most of the time when I see ADHD in the news, it's someone decrying the overdiagnosis of the condition, particularly among children. And while this might be a valid complaint, it also sends a message that ADHD isn't real, that "boys will boys," or that the condition is somehow the fault of the child or the parent.

Here's the thing: ADHD is precisely what enables me to do all the things I do. Sure, it could take me one full work day to comprehend a single spreadsheet in Excel. But I also taught myself how to play Irish DADGAD-style guitar in a single weekend. I redid our entire guest room in one afternoon this summer while also neglecting to take out the trash for a week and a half. I had an easier time reading "Infinite Jest" than I do with any urgent one-page letter from my health care provider. Even with the medicine and behavioral systems that I have in place, I still struggle every single day to keep my head on straight.

But you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world.

And that's exactly what I find so refreshing about NEURO+.

It doesn't pretend to be a catchall cure for a brain functionality that doesn't need curing (but could use a little help sometimes). It's just one possible tool to help people cope with ADHD, while still being the flying telekinetic dragons that we all were born to be.

NEURO+ is available for a subscription of $100 a month, which includes the headset and games. They recommend playing about three times a week (although the game only allows you to play for one hour every 10 hours), and they suggest that you'll start seeing improvements in attentive behaviors after about a month.

(Also, just to prove a point about attention: If you read this far, please include a "!" at the end of your comment. Thanks!)

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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