3-D video game uncovers brain dysfunction: Scientists

Scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health have found that clinically depressed people's performance in a 3-D video game suggests spatial memory, which tells the brain where objects are located and their orientation, does not function correctly. When investigating the link between depression and the hippocampus (the centre of memory), U.S. researchers found clinically depressed individuals asked to navigate a video game's 3-D virtual reality environment did poorly when compared to mentally healthy individuals.

The study, led by NIMH researcher Neda Gould and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 30 depressed patients and 19 people without a mood disorder. The scientists had previously given the same people a two-dimensional memory test but the two-dimensional test couldn't show the differences in spatial memory that were captured by the 3-D video game. The game they used was developed by scientists at the University College of London in England. The results suggest the game is a superior tool to provide "a consistent, sensitive measure of cognitive deficits in patients with affective disorders," Gould wrote in the study.

News source: CBC News

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