Akili Interactive’s DTx improves cognitive function in adults with MDD


Adults with depression that used Akili’s video game-like intervention improved their cognitive functioning and sustained attention, according to a small study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry

Researchers did not find any statistically significant difference in depression symptoms between patients in the control and intervention groups, though both groups did statistically improve from baseline. 

The study included a total of 80 participants between the ages of 25 and 55 with mild to moderate depression, and an objective impairment in cognition. 

Participants in the intervention group were trained by staff on how to use the video game therapy. Following the training, participants were instructed to complete five sessions, five days per week for six weeks.

Meanwhile, control group participants were told to spend 25 minutes on game play at least five days a week for six weeks. Adherence for both groups was monitored by unblinded study coordinators, who would contact participants if they did not engage with their assignment over a 48-hour period, according to the study. 

The research was supported by Akili Interactive, which also played a role in the conceptual design of the study and the decision to publish. 

“Treatment with AKL-T03 [Akili’s DTx] resulted in significant improvement in sustained attention, as well as in cognitive functioning as a whole, compared with a control intervention. AKL-T03 is a safe digital intervention that is effective in the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with major depression. Further research will be needed to understand the clinical consequences of this treatment-induced change,” researchers wrote. 


While this digital therapeutic is not yet FDA cleared, Akili is looking to eventually use this tool to help combat attention impairments in individuals with major depressive disorder. 

“Society is facing a growing mental health crisis, with depression rates in the U.S. increasing about 20% during the pandemic. While mood symptoms are most often associated with MDD, equally concerning are the frequent associated cognitive impairments,” Richard Keefe, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and primary investigator of the study, said in a press statement. “More than ever, we need safe and effective ways to support these patients – new tools that can be easily and broadly accessed. Based on the results of this study, AKL-T03 has the potential to play a meaningful role in the treatment of MDD patients.”


In 2020, Akili Interactive scored an FDA De Novo for its video game therapeutic EndeavorRx, which was designed to help improve children’s symptoms associated with ADHD and is intended to be used as one component of a broader therapeutic program. In February, a small study published in PLOS ONE found that kids with ADHD showed improvement in attention function after using Akili’s video game-based digital therapeutic EndeavorRx. 

In early 2022, the company announced plans to go public through a SPAC merger with Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. I.




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