A Game to ‘Cure’ Mental Illness

Aug 12, 2015 02:00 PM EDT | By tee.rod


Mental illness may be treated in various ways, therapy, medication or both. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist, has developed 'NeuroRacer' a video game on multi-tasking that has a player go through a series of challenges. The game is now being tested on how it can help older adults improve their mental functions. 

Many of those suffering from mental illness do not want the stigma that their illness carries, especially when they have to go to a professional for therapy.These negative stereotyping does not help the person, nor does it help the treatment Huffington Post reports. On the other hand, it acts as a barrier from getting treatment. Playing video games for the mind can allow anyone to seek treatment in their own home. 

Brain games that enhance mental process are a billion dollar industry, and can grow even more.  There are skeptics, of course. More research needs to be done to determine the benefits of 'NeuroRacer'. The brain has a network that operates the cognitive ability of a person. It includes the working memory, attention and goal management, and their functions overlap. If you have a problem in one area, it affects all others.  In the same way that improving one, improves all. 

A Northern California startup, Akili, is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a game that helps improve memory and make you smarter. It claims that exercising your memory will help a person think faster and be less forgetful. It may even improve one's IQ. 

A professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology refutes this claim.He says, 'the only thing these games make you better at is the game itself.'  Intelligence is a function of the dopamine system, a neurotransmitter, and no amount of computer gaming can change how it functions.

Previous study done years ago suggest Tetris can help a person dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.   

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