Games in Healthcare

Study Shows Casual Games Can Bring Relief from Depression

Title Screen from PeggleThe Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic of East Carolina University recently released a study on the effectiveness of casual games in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults. Conducted on behalf of PopCap Games, the study used psychological and physiological measurements to calculate the effectiveness of three PopCap’s games: Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures.

Researchers looked at the benefits of using these games as a form of recreational therapy for patients diagnosed as clinically depressed. Comprised of 59 participants—split between the experimental group and a control group who instead of playing, surfed the depression section of the National Institutes of Mental Health's website—the study found an average reduction in depression symptoms of 57 percent in the experimental group. Measurements were based on participants’ answers to a widely used depression diagnosis questionaire, heart rate variability and changes in brain function. Read More...

Advocacy Group Introduces New Exergaming Rating System

TEN LogoThe Exergame Network (TEN) recently unveiled the results of its first survey of fitness video games using its new Exergaming Experience Rating System. Developed through twelve months of collaborative study with a panel of world renowned exergaming experts, the rating system scores games on exercise, game play and interface, as well as seven other attributes.

“With so many different games available on the market, a rating system for exergames like the EERS by TEN, is a welcome tool for healthcare practitioners trying to help their patients make the most appropriate choices for their families,” said TEN contributor Dr. Ernie Medina of MedPlay Technologies LLCRead More...

FWD News: Games for Pain Reduction, Alcoholism and Visually-Impaired Fitness

A Visually-Impared Gamer Playing VI FitVirtual reality games are showing promise as a tool to combat pain. A research project is studying the analgesic effects of virtual reality environments and how they impact the way patients’ brains respond to pain.

“Virtual reality produces a modulating effect that is endogenous, so the analgesic influence is not simply a result of distraction but may also impact how the brain responds to painful stimuli,” explains Dr. Jeffrey I. Gold, associate professor of anaesthesiology and paediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. “The focus is drawn to the game not the pain or the medical procedure, while the virtual reality experience engages visual and other senses.” Read More...

FWD News: Games to Maintain a Healthy Brain

A McGill University Student Testing Virtual Reality RehabResearchers at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal, QC, and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, ON, have developed an interactive virtual reality training program to boost patients' confidence and increase the success of stroke rehabilitation.

"Relearning and improving movements affected by brain injuries is an intense process that requires hard work and motivation," said Dr. Michael Hill of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, a funding partner of the program’s clinical trials. "Research into how to best engage and motivate patients is vital for stroke recovery." Read More...