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Old 02-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Study: Casual Games Cut Down on Depression and Anxiety, Could be Used as Therapeutic Tools

Back from a tough day at work? Have things at home been less-than-optimal? Could your life be best described as a “never-ending torrent of shame and misery”? Well, those are, er, probably things you should look into fixing, but – if the the results of a recent East Carolina University study pan out – don't be surprised to see your therapist's interrogation couch (or whatever those things are called) replaced by a gaming PC.

The study kept tabs on 59 adult subjects who had been diagnosed with clinical depression. Half of said subjects (we're assuming the 59th guy was split into some kind of weird fraction being) spent a month with Bejeweled 2, Bookworm Adventures, or Peggle over the course of 12 play sessions that averaged 40 minutes a pop. Results were then measured with questionnaires and physiological sensors for heart rate and brain function.

When it was all said and done, people who'd kicked back with the games for the entire month or even a single play session showed "significant reductions in depression across the board.” In addition, the game-playing group demonstrated significant drops in anxiety, resulting in a 55 percent drop-off in anger levels and 58 percent better fatigue levels than the control group.

"In our opinion these findings support the use of prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or even replacement for, standard therapies including medication," wrote the researchers.

The only problem we see with this study? The researchers didn't report the inevitable, potentially worse side effect condition: terminal Peggle addiction.

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