Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Lodder


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Diagnosis of ADHD rose 42% from 2003–2004 to 2011–2012. In 2011, 3.5 million children were treated with drugs. Optimizing therapy can take a year, and may not be completely effective.

A clinical trial is currently being conducted of a device/drug combination using the computer game Minecraft, to determine how certain activities affect executive function, working memory, and restraint in patients diagnosed with ADHD. The human subjects’ responses are being modeled using artificial neural networks (ANNs), an artificial intelligence method that can be utilized to interpret highly complex data. We propose using ANNs to optimize drug and Minecraft therapy for individual patients based on the initial NICHQ Vanderbilt assessment scores. We are applying ANNs in the development of computational models for executive function deficiencies in ADHD. These models will then be used to develop a therapeutic video game as a drug/device combination with stimulants for the treatment of ADHD symptoms in Fragile X Syndrome.

As a first step towards the design of virtual subjects with executive function deficits, computational models of the core executive functions working memory and fluid intelligence were constructed. These models were combined to create healthy control and executive function-deficient virtual subjects, who performed a Time Management task simulation that required the use of their executive functions to complete. The preliminary working memory model utilized a convolutional neural network to identify handwritten digits from the MNIST dataset, and the fluid intelligence model utilized a basic recurrent neural network to produce sequences of integers in the range 1-9 that can be multiplied together to produce the number 12. A simplified Impulsivity function was also included in the virtual subject as a first step towards the future inclusion of the core executive function inhibition.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)