This video game helps doesn’t just manage symptoms. It helps depressed users process information, to fix the underlying problems in their brain.
From pills to talk therapy and more, many treatments exist for trying to treat depression.
This new one, however, might be a first.
A video game developed by Akili Interactive Labs called EVO, is helping people over the age of 60 treat their mild to moderate depression.
EVO runs on mobile phones and tablets, and helps users improve their focus and attention.
Older adults can have trouble zeroing in on personal goals, researchers in this study say, and this can be a common cause of depression.
Why? Simply because worries become too big. Life carries on and this group can become so distracted by their own troubles that they lose the ability to focus.
Joaquin A. Anguera, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researcher in neurology and psychiatry is the lead author of the study published on Jan. 3, 2017 in the journal Depression and Anxiety.
Patricia Areán, a UW Medicine researcher in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the senior author.
“While EVO was not directly designed to treat depressive symptoms,” says Anguera, “we (think) that there may indeed be beneficial effects on these symptoms…and so far, the results are promising.”
So, how does EVO work? The game targets some of the problems in the brain that cause people to become distracted, at a basic level. Researchers say it improves the brain’s ability to process multiple streams of information.
So far, results have been promising. Researchers are hoping that EVO could have widespread applications in the medical world.
Clinical trials are continuing to see if it can help treat cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and pediatric ADHD. Game on.