Video games studied to treat late-life depression

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UCSF’s Joaquin Anguera and UW’s Patricia Arean have published a study detailing the use of video games to treat late life depression. They claim that the EVO interface targets underlying cognitive issues associated with depression, and does not simply manage systems. The game, developed by Akili, is meant to improve focus and attention at a “basic neurological level.”

Players in the study displayed cognitive benefits (such as improved attention — a commonly reported challenge for depression suffers) compared to behavioral therapy, as well as improved mood and self-reported function.

Participants  played the game  for 20 minutes, five times per week, and met with a clinician once per week. The researchers noted that social contact of this nature can have a positive effect on mood.  This may have impacted results, and is not related to game playing.
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