Brain games for schizophrenia?

Games that use a certain part of the brain could be helpful

bigthink.com

Can We Train Away Schizophrenic Symptoms?

Schizophrenia is a complex and devastating psychiatric disorder that affects approximately one percent of people in the United States. It is best known for its outward symptoms: hallucinations, delusions and, at its most severe, psychosis. But schizophrenia's associated cognitive deficits, including poor memory, attention, and decision-making abilities, are not only the earliest symptoms to appear but also the most resistant to current drug treatments. Now researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have demonstrated that computer-based cognitive training may help people with schizophrenia overcome those cognitive deficits and better monitor reality-and perhaps prevent the disease's progression.

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NHS

Video game based brain training may help people with schizophrenia

"People with schizophrenia can be trained by playing a video game to control the part of the brain linked to verbal hallucinations," BBC News reports.

Verbal or auditory hallucinations, which typically take the form of "hearing voices", can be one of the most distressing aspects of schizophrenia.

The voices are often abusive, rude or critical, and around 1 in 3 people's symptoms don't respond to conventional drug treatment.

This small proof-of-concept study involved 12 people. Researchers used a functional MRI scanner (fMRI) to provide a real-time analysis of brain activity based on changes in blood flow inside the brain.

In turn, the fMRI output was linked to a simple computer game that involved landing a rocket.

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BBC

Video game calms schizophrenia patients

People with schizophrenia can be trained by playing a video game to control the part of the brain linked to verbal hallucinations, researchers say.

Patients in a small study were able to land a rocket in the game when it was connected to the brain region sensitive to speech and human voices.

In time, the patients learnt to use the technique in their daily lives to reduce the power of hallucinations.

But this is a small pilot study and the findings still need to be confirmed.

The research team, from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the University of Roehampton, says the technique could be used to help schizophrenia patients who do not respond to medication.

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