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Medicine Entertainment Games

Treating ADHD With Games 124

Mana Knight writes "The Escapist has an article called 'Gaming the Brain' about video games being used to treat ADHD. Quoting: 'One of the more promising therapies is neurofeedback, which involves continually monitoring patients' brainwaves. Subjects attempt to change their brainwaves to a set pattern and receive an auditory signal that tells them whether they were successful. With enough repetition, neurofeedback can rewire a person's brain. A study published in 2005 examines how patients diagnosed with ADHD can learn to better maintain their concentration through neurofeedback. Depending on how individuals respond to this type of treatment, it can even be used as a replacement for medication.'"
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Treating ADHD With Games

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  • Re:Weird. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:51AM (#26428893)

    Well INAP(I'm Not a Psychiatrist), but I could see how you could use this system to train aggression instead of concentration if you wanted. It basically rewards the players for having correct brainwave patterns. Assuming you can isolate aggressive thought patterns, just have the system trigger of that. For best results I would hook it to a game set in the middle of some city full of innocent pedestrians and a large assortment of melee weapons. (For best results, play with Wii remote). Damage/powerups are controlled by how aggressive the player can keep their thoughts. Pretty soon you'll probably have created a homicidal maniac, or at least a rage filled individual.

  • by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:59AM (#26428959)

    From my understanding, this might help people with "real" ADHD too. The brain does not have some static wiring scheme, force it to do something enough and it will make new wiring to handle that something more efficiently. Some of this is probably just teaching concentration, but it sounds like the goal is to keep subjects in a correct thought patterns for long enough patterns that the brain actually starts to rewire to fit these new patterns.

  • by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:10AM (#26429037) Journal


    We're in "Gattaca Territory here". It's tough, but it's not QUITE a total lock. It will just take the ADD subject 7 times as long to train the capability. But "any progress is greater than zero", and all kinds of activities in this class help.

  • Boys will be boys (Score:2, Interesting)

    by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:17AM (#26429093)

    Sigh, more ADHD/ADD. This isn't a rant at the game/article but more just the whole idea of ADHD/ADD. Overconcerned mommies wondering why their child would rather be at recess playing outside, living an adventure in the woods than sitting on his butt from 8-3 every day with 2 minute breaks in between classes where he gets to stand up from his desk, go get his textbook from the shelf, and sit back down...

    HELLO! He's a kid! And he's a boy! We've always known girls are naturally predisposed to sitting still in class learning. Why don't we medicate the girls for no interest in proving themselves manly like the boys like to prove themselves worthy? Girls play the relational games, boys like to play competitive games, see if they have what it takes, if they stack up against the odds.

    I'm telling you this is a war against men. The ladies then ask "Where have all the men gone, why doesn't my man sweep me off my feet with emotion?" Well, you asked them to be "nice". If all a man can aspire to in his life is to be a "nice" guy who sits down for his wife when he pees, is it any wonder where they've all gone?

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @04:37AM (#26429677) Homepage Journal
    My experience from having and being treated for epilepsy is that everything our minds do is wired in. Memory, behaviour and behavioural disorders are all a result of a particular wiring configuration. Change one thing, you change other aspects of the system because they are just different aspects of the same system.

    When I had RSI in my right hand I changed to a left handed mouse configuration. When I couldn't make myself work that way I spent a couple of hours browsing porn. My brain rewired itself to accept a left handed mouse. Likewise if you want to change a configuration you call ADHD then give the system some non-ADHD tasks to do with a carrot to keep them at it.
  • by dtml-try MyNick ( 453562 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:01AM (#26430161)

    Ever heard of "hyperfocus"?
    I'm diagnosed with ADHD and play WoW for quite long stretches of time. While I tend to have quite a short attentionspan for most things games work quite the opposite for me.

    Games tend to calm me down and get me in a state which enables me to really focus and concentrate on a single task or goal for much longer periods of time. A state of mind mostly refered to as hyperfocus. Generally it means that if you find something fun or very interresting it enables you to extremely focus on the subject. A thing most people with adhd will recognize I think.

  • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:01PM (#26435259) Journal

    The difference is that it's a matter of absolutes. Lots of people can get into a state of hyperfocus. People with ADHD are often in that state or can't concentrate on a single task at all. Either everything else is shut almost completely out, or any little thing can pull attention away.

    Hyperfocus is like a drug. Breaking someone's hyperfocus is like taking cigarettes from a smoker or coffee from a caffeine addict.

    ADHD isn't just about dopamine, either. People with ADHD can process any combination of dopamine, serotonin, and/or adrenalin differently. It is often all three.

    Poor attitude is not ADHD. Neither are depression, social anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, or many other abnormalities with similar ranges of effects. There are diagnostic tests for ADHD that include ruling out other disorders. PET scans, IQ tests, psychological profiles of the whole household, and more are often recommended for proper diagnosis. "Johnny is bored in class" is not a diagnosis of ADHD.

  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:47PM (#26436075) Homepage

    It "sounds like", but it's pretty different.

    Most people take quite a while to switch tasks, and tend to have some general awareness of things other than what they're working on. Hyperfocus is generally neither of these. One of the reasons people ask me to help debug stuff that just needs a second opinion is that by the time they've finished their description of the problem, I'm completely on that task, with no idea what I was doing before they started talking. Which means I am more focused on the task ten seconds in than most people would be five minutes in... And massively increases the value of my first-minute responses. ... Of course, I lose my existing state, which is a problem. BUT. Since I do that all the time anyway, I've developed decent coping mechanisms. :)

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"