Video game shown to help treat depression, study says

A video game has proven beneficial in helping improve certain cognitive features that are associated with depression, according to researchers.

Project Evo, a mobile game developed digital medicine producer Akili, has been designed to improve focus and attention at a neurological level. The game was applied to a study in which older adults with late-life depression were enrolled. Participants were then randomly assigned either the mobile-based treatment game Project Evo or an in-person therapy technique known as problem-solving therapy (PST). Participants were required to play the game five times a week for 20 minutes.

Results published in the journal Depression and Anxiety showed that people using the game showed specific cognitive benefits compared to those receiving the in-person therapy technique. Improvements in things such as attention, mood and self-reported function were observed by those who played Project Evo, showing that the game can help improve certain areas affecting depression sufferers.

Studies for the game were held by researchers at the University of Washington. Dr. Patricia Areán, a medicine researcher at the University and who is senior author for the study said:

“What we found is that the video game was as effective as the talk therapy. We think the reason why the video game was effective is because it was specifically exercising a part of the brain that we think is associated with depression.”

The study hopes to show that people suffering from conditions such as depression can still get help even without access to traditional problem solving therapy.

Project Evo is currently undergoing clinical trials for use in cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury and ADHD.

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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