Will Doctors Soon Prescribe Videogames?

by Rachel Baker on July 10, 2014

It seems this is probably not that far away. I am surprised we haven’t heard more about how the Kinect is helping older people stay more active, particularly when they are in nursing homes. I suspect there will be a new generation of elderly people in the next 30 to 40 years who have less decreased my mental capabilities than their counterparts now, only because they were gamers in their younger ages.

Feeling anxious, depressed, fearful, or unable to focus? Is your memory getting fuzzy? Medication might help. Therapy might help. And someday soon–according to neuroscientists, game designers, and drug makers–you might be prescribed a videogame that helps as much as (or more than) either. Here are a few of the innovative companies that are fusing game mechanics with principles of cognitive psychology to create a new paradigm for digital healing.

In September 2013, a group led by Adam Gazzaley, a cognitive neuroscience researcher at UCSF, published a landmark paper in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. A study they had conducted showed that playing a specially designed driving game called Neuroracer arrested age-related cognitive decline in senior citizens, improving memory, attention, and the ability to multitask.

Will Doctors Soon Prescribe Videogames?

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