Ep. 124: A Non-Medication Treatment for Children with ADHD with Dr. Sandra Loo

Mar 14, 2023 | 0 comments

Many parents hesitate to jump to a medication treatment for their child’s ADHD and ask about alternatives to medication. On this podcast, we have talked about different medication options but also behavioral therapies, mindfulness, and classroom accommodations, but today we’re talking about an empirically supported non-medication treatment for ADHD and the results look very promising.

Today’s guest is Dr. Sandra Loo who researches Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation and its impact on ADHD symptoms in children ages 7-12 at UCLA. In today’s episode, she describes what Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (TNS) is and how it works to generate brain activity. She also shares the benefits of the treatment and provides updates on how the study is going. It is a very exciting advance in non-medication treatment alternatives for children and you can reach out to Dr. Loo through the links below to participate in the study as well.


Show Notes:

[2:44] – The work Dr. Loo is doing with this new treatment is exciting and hopeful.

[4:06] – Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation is the first FDA cleared treatment of ADHD of kids ages 7-12 years old. It’s a mild stimulation that generates brain activity. Dr. Loo describes the process.

[5:15] – After about 4 weeks of nightly stimulation, Dr. Loo has seen improvement in ADHD symptoms.

[7:18] – Children on the older side of the 7-12 age range tend to feel comfortable putting the device on themselves. Dr. Loo explains what it might feel like for a child to wear.

[9:16] – This isn't medication and results are slower than medication treatment.

[10:22] – Improvements show the greatest results in inattention.

[11:35] – Dr. Loo is also working on predictors that will help determine what treatment would be best for individual children.

[13:08] – One observation from parents is that ADHD symptoms are better and that their child is less emotionally dysregulated.

[15:45] – After 4 weeks in the study, they found that stopping the treatment did see an increase in the symptoms again.

[17:37] – There are other goals for this treatment that are still being researched.

[18:15] – There have not been any adverse side effects of this treatment and everyone responds differently.

[20:47] – What are the comparisons to more common medication treatment results?

[23:33] – All presentations of ADHD are welcome to participate in this study.

[25:23] – Dr. Loo shares how to get more information and who to contact to participate, all of which are linked below.

[30:26] – This is a multi-site study, also available in Washington.


About Our Guest:

Sandra Loo, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Pediatric Neuropsychology within the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Loo is a licensed clinical psychologist and translational researcher whose work over the past 25 years has encompassed genetic, electrophysiology (EEG) and neurocognitive biomarkers within ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, her research is focused on the development of empirically supported, non-medication treatments for ADHD. She has published over 150 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on these and related subjects. Dr. Loo’s teaching and clinical activities are focused on comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of youth with pediatric (traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, brain tumors) and psychiatric (ADHD, Specific Learning Disorders, mood and anxiety) disorders. She oversees research and clinical training activities for trainees interested in specializing in ADHD and related neurodevelopmental disorders.


Connect with Dr. Loo:

Links and Related Resources:


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.