Do fidget spinners actually offer health benefits?

Some find them calming - others find them annoying...

Do fidget spinners actually offer health benefits?

GoodSpinners / Etsy

Fidget Spinners have been the toy phenomenon of 2017 they've been a hit with both adults who are taken to fidgeting (hence the name) and kids on playgrounds trying to pull off high-speed spinning tricks and trading the lo-fi gadgets like the Pogs and Pokemon cards.

Many online sellers state that they can ease anxiety and help people with conditions like attention deficit disorder to focus - but is there any science behind these claims?

Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Psychiatrist at Tallaght Hospital, joined George Hook's High Noon to discuss the spinner craze.

The idea of a repetitive action having a calming effect is "a common idea" according to Mr Kelly.

"There's no evidence that of it works on a systematic level, but people find these little gizmos useful- so it's hard to be against them," he told Newstalk.

"Sometimes having a specific distraction, for someone with attention problems, can actually help them focus more clearly on something else," he continued.

A Reading player with a Fidget Spinner before the Championship play-off Final

The academic, who confessed to being a fidget spinner owner, added that he believes that if people think the gadgets are helping them then that's good enough for him:

"We do need evidence if someone is claiming a toy is a treatment for a condition or that it helps with a problem. That evidence isn't in at a systematic level. But if certain individuals find something helpful for concentration, then it just makes sense to do that. We don't need evidance at that individual level."

A number of listeners contacted the station with anecdotal evidence of spinners offering benefits, such as one telling George that their 14-year-old child finds they help them to concentrate when studying.

"People find all kinds of things help with concentration. We need to tolerate that," Mr Kelly concluded.