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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 14:53 GMT
Hyperactivity cure hopes raised
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Booth
The device helps re-train the brain
A British millionaire says he has stumbled across a revolutionary drug-free treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Wynford Dore said the unexpected breakthrough came when his company discovered that programmes used to treat dyslexia also had a powerful affect on ADHD.

Sufferers of the condition are easily distracted and have trouble concentrating for extended periods.

They are often impulsive and restless and have a tendency to daydream.

This is the first permanent solution for attention deficit hyperactive disorder I have come across
Professor Rod Nicolson

What causes such behaviour isn't known.

Usually, treatment comes in the form of drugs known as psychostimulants, which are often effective but can have side effects.

A chemical-free alternative is now being trumpeted.

Impressive results

Mr Dore told a news conference in Australia: "By accident we stumbled on something that could have the most dramatic effect on individuals' lives.

Wynford Dore
Wynford Dore is delighted by the results

"These are wonderful, incredible results and yet we didn't even try to do this."

Some academics have even suggested that a 'cure' for ADHD had been found.

Professor Rod Nicolson, of Sheffield University, said: "This is the first permanent solution for attention deficit hyperactive disorder I have come across."

At the heart of Dore's theory is a part of the brain called the cerebellum, which co-ordinates movement and balance.

Dore believes that it is also instrumental in the learning process and if it is not working efficiently, then problems such as ADHD can occur.

The thinking is that if dormant parts of the cerebellum are stimulated by a series of balance and eye exercises it will expand and work better.

Astronaut origins

The system is based around a space-age neurological testing machine, known as a 'dynamic posturography booth'.

It has been developed from a device used to test astronauts returning from space.

Parents should be advised to spend their money on scientifically-proven treatments for ADHD
Michele Toner

Researchers have insisted that this computerised equipment can accurately assess how well the cerebellum is performing.

Dr Stan Levy, a consultant neurologist based in Sydney who is working closely with Mr Dore, said: "When I came across the Dore programme and its exciting ideas, it really opened my eyes.

"Although drugs have been shown to be effective they are a short-term solution to a lot of the problems and they do have side-effects.

"What we think we're doing is making the cerebellum more efficient."

Dore's team isn't sure how or why this happens.

Daughter's problems

The British industrialist, who made his fortune selling fire resistant paint, was spurred into action several years ago when his daughter tried to commit suicide due to chronic learning difficulties.

Larissa Moore
Larissa Moore believes the treatment worked for her

His company has clinics in the UK, Australia and the US.

A research study involving all three countries will now attempt to prove his theory. Sceptics will need convincing.

Michele Toner is from the Learning and Attentional Disorders Society (LADS), based in Western Australia

She said: "There is no scientific evidence to support the use of computer programmes to treat the symptoms of ADHD."

"I understand this programme is very expensive.

"Parents should be advised to spend their money on scientifically-proven treatments for ADHD."

Wynford Dore's exercise therapy costs around US$ 3,000 (GBP 1,700) and the treatment takes up to 15 months to complete.

Australian teenager Larissa Moore has insisted it saved her life.

Hyperactivity once made the 17-year-old from the Outback town of Bogangate in New South Wales feel suicidal.

She told the BBC News website: "I wasn't the nicest person and I didn't want to be at school.

"I hated everyone and just wanted to end my life.

"After the programme things improved 100%.

"It's changed my life and I think I have a future now."

Celebrity backing

The initiative has received enthusiastic support from resurgent pop star Leo Sayer, who suffered learning difficulties as a boy.

The 57-year-old singer, who now lives in Sydney, said he was constantly beaten at school and bullied by his father because of his dyslexia.

He suffered a nervous breakdown as a result.

"I'm a miracle," he said. "I came through the other side."

Sayer has said he will undergo the Dore treatment and hopes it will help others overcome the sort of adversity he endured.

"I'd like to think that the programme can create some miracles for our young people," he said.


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