Is it possible that video games can actually help our brains? What researchers have discovered may change our future relationship with some medical treatments.

Ever since their invention, there have been debates and stigma over the impact video games have on brains. On one side, you have the fact that people are sitting stationary for a long time, which is detrimental to their overall health. (But any one of us with an office job can relate to that.) On the other side, there’s the idea that video games are training the brain.

So… what are they? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between? Let’s see!

Image: Person playing a video game

Source: Pixabay

Peter Rubin, a Senior Producer at WIRED, looked into this for us all. He visited researchers, doctors, and tested his skills against a pro gamer to see what the actual effects video games have on our health. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the results he came up with… and I definitely wasn’t anticipating where video games may take us in the future.

Have a look for yourself…

Via: WIRED 1

You can find more of Peter Rubin’s work for WIRED by clicking here! He’s even written a book, Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life, which published in April of this year.

Really? Video games as medicine?

Yep! You heard it right. There are researchers working towards developing games that can enhance our everyday brain use and can be prescribed to be used to “support treatment of brain disorders such as ADHD, autism, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and more” 2. They’re aiming to build a new type of treatment that doesn’t involve chemicals (most prescription medications have uncomfortable side effects) and makes it an experience that’s unique to each patient.

The Verge shows us how this new “digital medicine” works with a trip to Neuroscape, a center working to integrate technology and neuroscience!

Via: The Verge 3

“We strive to make treatments that are not just engaging, but captivating to the point that, in the moment, patients forget they are taking medicine.

Our prescription digital medicine is delivered through creative and immersive action video game experiences to keep patients engaged and immersed in the treatment. Our products leverage the fun, deep engagement, and rewards that make games incredibly compelling but, unlike typical video games, this personalized gameplay experience is engineered with adaptive algorithms designed to treat a disease or disorder.” 4

Sounds pretty good, right? If you’d like to learn even more about Akili Interactive, Project EVO, and its applications, head on over to their site by clicking here.

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What’s the Deal with Virtual Reality?

Talk about virtual reality feels like it's everywhere, but why all the hype? Today we explore why VR may be the next big thing, and what's going on in our brains to make these digital worlds so real (and fun)!

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So where do we go from here?

As they said in the first video, fairly serious injuries do occur from playing video games too often. But a few hours here and there isn’t bad! Just make sure you go outside, stretch, engage with other humans face to face, and you should be fine. So go on, keep exploring new virtual worlds, and look forward to a real world where we’re prescribing video games as medicine! (Seriously, who doesn’t want a noninvasive treatment?)

Oh! And did you know that virtual reality is actually inside of healthcare now?

Learn all about it in this following article:

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How Virtual Reality is Changing Healthcare

This device out of Stanford is saving lives by helping both families and medical experts understand what's happening with Congenital Heart Defects.

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Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”—Albert Einstein 

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Notes:

  1. “Testing Gamer vs Non-Gamer Brains: How Do Video Games Affect You? | WIRED.” WIRED, YouTube, 25 Oct. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=duxWYK-UEiU. Accessed 12 Dec. 2018.
  2. Goode, Lauren. “Prescription Video Games May Be the Future of Medicine.” The Verge, The Verge, 25 July 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/7/25/16019760/prescription-video-games-brain-next-level-video. Accessed 12 Dec. 2018.
  3. Verge, The. “Prescription Video Games.” YouTube, The Verge, 25 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS_HDxQxxqw. Accessed 12 Dec. 2018.
  4. “Science & Technology.” Akili Interactive, www.akiliinteractive.com/science-and-technology. Accessed 12 Dec. 2018.

Samantha Burns

Executive Assistant, Staff Writer

Samantha is a listener, creator, collector of knick knacks and lover of most, if not all, types of cheese.