Brain Plasticity Inc. is seeking government approval to market its cognitive games as a treatment for schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia isn’t just about hearing voices; patients often experience difficulties with memory and attention in addition to the extrasensory symptoms associated with the disease. Brain Plasticity Inc., a San-Francisco based cognitive games developer, is now beginning its application to the Food and Drugs Administration to approve its cognitive games as a therapy for these aspects of the disease.

Brain Plasticity Inc.’s games are modeled on cognitive exercises developed by Posit Science to help people improve certain brain functions. Starting next year, the company will conduct a study with 150 patients across 15 different locations, restricting each to a strict “dose” of gameplay. If the results of this experiment are significant, the company plans to push forward into the next stage of their FDA application. The National Institute for Health has awarded Brain Plasticity Inc. $3 million towards its schizophrenia experiment (in addition to $2 million awarded by the Department of Defense for cognitive games therapy for war veterans with brain trauma).

As technology becomes more sophisticated, therapeutic gaming is something we’re going to hear about more and more. War veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have found some measure of relief from Virtual Iraq, a game which allows them, guided by their therapists, to seek closure by reliving the sights, sounds and smells of the experiences that injured them; if Brain Plasticity Inc.’s games can go any way to assisting schizophrenia patients with performing routine functions without hassle, then this project will have succeeded. In the future, patients could leave their doctor’s office with a precription for a game in their hand; what’s more, it might actually improve their lives.

Source: New Scientist

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