Video games may soon help treat cognitive diseases

Individuals grappling with mental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may soon be treated with video games, instead of pills. According to media reports, approval for a new video game is pending with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which can be used to treat ADHD.

Called “Project: EVO,” the game is a proprietary software developed by Akili Interactive Labs, which has been designed to assess and improve cognitive disorders. Cognition refers to the ability of the brain to understand and function in the external environment.

According to CNBC, the game is currently at the last stage of FDA approval. The development has come after an April 2017 study revealed that the medical device might help children with certain cognitive impairments. The findings reported that a majority (54 percent) with attentional deficiencies experienced improvement in their neural and parent-reported attention following a targeted-attention intervention.

It is not the first study that links the use of video games to improved cognition. The latest being a July 2017 research that reports positive effects of games on cognition. The study, published in the Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 8, examined the effects of exergames on cognition in healthy and clinically-impaired populations. Researchers have also drawn a comparison between the efficacy of these games and the benefits of traditional physical activities. Exergames refer to the interactive video games that require the player to produce physical movements to achieve set tasks or challenges, in response to visual cues.

Effects of active video games on overall cognition

The researchers have claimed that this is the first study of its kind to examine the impact of exergames on cognitive functioning. The findings suggest that the use of active video games offer moderately large positive effects on global cognition as compared to control conditions. These games have significant benefits on cognition in both clinical and nonclinical samples.

The researchers observed that the interventions produce significant improvements in executive functioning, which may help people with mild cognitive impairment. Generally, executive functioning declines with age. Exergames may also offer a feasible and acceptable solution to help people maintain health and independence in older age the researchers claimed. However, the study does not find any positive association between use of video games and better language, spatial learning and memory or verbal learning and memory.

Dealing with mental problems

Despite these studies, it is too early to realize the full potential of interventions such as exergames for enhancing cognitive ability of people with some particular mental illnesses. Therefore, it is always better to report any signs of mental problems to an expert. If left untreated mental ailments, including cognitive impairments, can adversely affect a person’s self-esteem and may lead to many complications.

Confused thinking, feelings of extreme highs and lows, prolonged depression, social withdrawal, worries and anxieties, strong feelings of anger and dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits can be the possible signs of impaired mental health. In addition, growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities, delusions, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and several unexplained physical ailments may indicate an underlying mental health problem.

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms and is looking to connect with a mental health specialist, 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help with some useful information. It offers valuable information on a 247 mental health treatment center in the U.S. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online for details of outpatient mental health helpline center.