Researchers have created a video game that calms the part of the brain linked to verbal hallucinations
Researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the University of Roehampton have developed a game that helps schizophrenia patients who had previously not responded well to medication.
In the study, 12 patients, who suffered with severe verbal hallucinations, were asked to land a rocket in a game, while they were in an MRI scanner. As they were playing the game, sensors were attached to the part of the brain which responds to speech and voices.
They were asked to use the mental strategies they had been taught to control the rocket. When they did so, the volume of the voices was turned down, and gradually the voices became more “internal” rather than “external”, making them less stressful and easier to deal with.
The aim is for patients to learn how to use these same techniques in their daily lives and, while this study is still in the preliminary stages, the results are promising and it is hoped the research will lead to further breakthroughs into innovative ways to treat mental illnesses.