Video game calms schizophrenia patients
Researchers say that people with schizophrenia can be trained by playing video game. In that way it can control the part of their brains linked to verbal hallucinations.
Patients from King’s College London participated in this small study. A research team conducted the study allowed the patients to monitor their brain activity. Participants were controlling a rocket in a video game while in an MRI scanner. The game requires participants to use techniques that could “reduce the power of hallucinations”.
The research team from King’s College and University of Roehampton said that it can help a lot of schizophrenia patients. Especially those who do not respond to medication.
People who have this condition are known to have a more active auditory cortex. Meaning, they are more sensitive to sounds and voices.
All 12 patients who participated in the study experienced very bad and threatening verbal hallucinations every day. Which is the common symptom of schizophrenia.
The study let the patients control their symptoms by playing the game designed for this activity. They were asked to play a video game while in an MRI scanner, using their own mental strategies. Patients have to move a computerized rocket. By doing that, they can turn down the external volume they’re hearing.
“The patients know when the voices are about to start – they can feel it, so we want them to immediately put this aid into effect to lessen them, or stop the voices completely,” said Dr. Natasza Orlov from King’s College London.
She said that all the patients who had 4 sessions in the MRI scanner, found that their voices became internal. As a result, it made them less stressful.
Dr. Orlov added, “Although the study sample size is small and we lacked a control group, these results are promising. We are now planning to conduct a randomized controlled study to test this technique in a larger sample.”
This study was published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.