Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression To Specific Brain Area

Date:
March 2, 2007
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Summary:
Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain's memory hub. Spatial memory is the memory of how things are oriented in space and how to get to them. Researchers found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared with nondepressed people, suggesting that their hippocampi were not working properly.

Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain's memory hub. Spatial memory is the memory of how things are oriented in space and how to get to them. Researchers found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared with nondepressed people, suggesting that their hippocampi were not working properly.

Results were published by NIMH researcher Neda Gould and colleagues in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Earlier studies showed that people with mood disorders tend to have smaller hippocampi than nondepressed people. Other studies showed that depressed people have memory problems. This study strengthened the evidence of a link between the hippocampus and depression by showing that people with hippocampus dysfunction — as revealed by spatial memory problems detected by the new video game — are more likely to be depressed.

Previously, the scientists had given the same people a two-dimensional memory test traditionally used in such studies, in which they were asked to remember the locations of objects on a computer screen — similar to what they would have seen on paper. This two-dimensional test was not able to detect differences in spatial memory that the new video game was able to detect. The reason, Gould suggests, is that the virtual-reality, three-dimensional aspects of the video game engage areas of the hippocampus that the two-dimensional test does not.

Thus, the video game is a more revealing measure of spatial memory and a more sensitive measure of hippocampal dysfunction — a more powerful tool for exploring the link between the hippocampus and depression. It may one day be a tool for detecting hippocampus deficits in depressed patients.

The game was developed by scientists at the University College of London and may point the way to new treatments for depression. With further development, it could help scientists track genetic and other biological factors, as well as environmental factors, that play a role in the illness.

Citation: Gould NF, Holmes MK, Fantie BD, Luckenbaugh DA, Pine DS, Gould TD, Burgess N, Manji HK, Zarate CA. Performance on a Virtual Reality Spatial Memory Navigation Task in Depressed Patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, March 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression To Specific Brain Area." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301100807.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. (2007, March 2). Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression To Specific Brain Area. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301100807.htm
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health. "Virtual-Reality Video Game Helps Link Depression To Specific Brain Area." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301100807.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 18, 2014) The virus ravaging Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt the economy more than the actual disease, says Breakingviews' Una Galani. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Twitter Users Up In Arms After 'Favorites' Show Up In Feeds

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) Twitter is testing a feature on some users that shows favorited tweets from people they follow in their own timeline, the same way a retweet appears. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins