According to a Chinese American study published in Nature Communications, video games are likely to reduce states of depression for the elderly. The results of the clinical tests was conducted on a group of elderly people from 60 to 89 years old on whom antidepressant had no positive effects. Their state improved after spending time playing video games that were developed to improve the brain’s abilities.
Videogames allow to fight depression in the elderly
A study conducted by 6 Chinese and American researchers reveals that some video games have a positive effect on depressed elderly patients on whom medicinal treatments don’t work. It starts from a theory which states that regularly playing video games can improve cognitive abilities. From there, researchers came up with a program to fight depression thanks to video games. This theory relies on previous studies which showed the decline of cognitive and intellectual abilities resulted in a decreasing receptiveness to antidepressants. The study underlines that “Despite important progress, classic treatments for depression leaves many elderly people in a state of suffering”. Researchers have indeed shown that medicine does not always take effect fast or effectively enough for the elderly.
For this study, 11 participants had to regularly play video games in a span of four weeks. Their brain’s abilities as well as their depression level were measured afterwards.
The results were then compared to those of a group of 33 elderly people who received a classical antidepressant treatment instead of video games therapy.
The study concludes that the video game program “improve the executive functions of the brain as well as its receptiveness.”. They are linked to the reasoning abilities used in planning organisation of the behaviour. Their decline can be linked to depression for the elderly. Researchers stress however that despite promising results, the study was conducted on a small scale.