Study: Video Games May Help Treat ADHD, Too

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Chalk up another point for video gaming’s health benefits. This time, a new study suggests that kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have shown symptom relief after engaging in a five-week working memory-training program revolving around “game-like” software.

The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, demonstrates that students who participated in the experiment were shown to have improved working memory, or the ability to retain information long enough to complete a task (such as remembering a phone number long enough to dial it).

“Working memory is critical in everyday life, and certainly for academic success, but it is one of the things that is very difficult for children with ADHD,” says Christine Hanson, a graduate student in Psychology at Ohio State University, who worked on the study.

The game itself was developed by Swedish Company Cogmed in partnership with Karolinska Institute, a medical university in Stockholm. According to the study, students — from a specialized Columbus school for children with disabilities ranging in ages 7 to 17 — who played the game for 30-40 minutes a day were rated to show improved ADHD symptoms such as reduced inattention and a better working memory.

The game itself isn’t exactly Mass Effect 2; rather, a robot may say a set of numbers and the students are expected to type them back in the correct order. (Fun!)

“At first the kids love it, because it is like a game,” says graduate student Synthia Puffenberger, who also worked on the study. “But the software has an algorithm built in that makes the exercises harder as the students get better. So the children are always challenged.”

[via Medical News Today]

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