A recent study conducted by a researcher at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and the University of Roehampton has unveiled some really interesting information about a relation and causation between patients suffering from Schizophrenia and Video games.
The findings of the research suggested that by playing video games patients can learn to control the part of their brain linked to verbal hallucinations. Based on the MRI scanner the research participants were shown a rocket that had its response depended on speech sensitive region of their brain.
The results of the MRI scan was amazing, there were 12 participants and almost all of them were able to safely land the rocket by employing their own mental strategies and using the feedback provided by the game to manage their verbal hallucinations.
The method of conducting the research is an example of Neurofeedback. In neurofeedback technique patients are shown positive or negative feedback in order to determine the response in the participants. Similar was the case in this research, all of the participants were provided specific instructions on how to control the Rocket but with that, they were asked to also utilize their mental capacity to develop strategies.
Four sessions later, without using the game they were able to reduce the neural activity in the speech sensitivity region. Which initially implies that video games can be used to medically treat Schizophrenia.
Coming to the participants, all of the participants suffer from acute verbal hallucinations on regular basis and the medication does not seem to help them. Well, the study had its limitations as this was a pilot study and the number of participants was low. Although because the results were promising Dr. Natasza Orlov, of King’s College, did add that there are further plans to further conduct this study with a larger sample base.
This is a very promising research for not only the Video Game’s image but way beyond that. It has been the first time a neurofeedback technique has been utilized to treat patients suffering from Schizophrenia and verbal hallucinations.
The most promising part of it is that most of the patients with Schizophrenia have an issue with verbal hallucination and this technique attempts to counter that. Let us hope that this further develops and in near future, it becomes a medical breakthrough.