Study: Video games may improve mood, function in late life depression patients

A study in Depression and Anxiety investigated whether late life depression could be improved through the use of therapeutic video games.

The researchers — led by Joaquin A. Anguera, PhD, of University of California, San Francisco — identified 22 individuals over the age of 60 with late life depression. These participants received one of two interventions: problem solving therapy or digital platform targeting cognitive control abilities. The researchers suggested that a digital media platform provides therapeutics in "a manner that is engaging and engenders adherence to treatment protocol."

The 12 participants who underwent the digital intervention and the 10 participants who underwent the problem solving therapy intervention reported similar improvements in mood and function after four weeks. Participants in the digital intervention group also demonstrated 100 percent adherence.

The researchers concluded, "This study provides preliminary findings that this therapeutic video game targeting cognitive control deficits may be an efficacious LLD intervention."

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