Doctors are in the process of testing out a prescription video game that has the potential to help recover COVID-19 patients that deal with memory and attention issues. There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that COVID may affect cognitive function. In fact, many people who have survived the disease report feeling disoriented and having difficulty focusing.
Research also shows that these cognitive side effects can last months after the patient has recovered from the ailment. As such, there’s a need to develop innovative therapies that assist in this. Faith Gunning, the scientist behind the prescription video game, is doing its part to provide a solution. Gunning and her team are based at the Weill Cornell Medicine School in New York.
The video game, which is called EndeavorRX, could help alleviate some of the memory and focus symptoms associated with COVID recovery. The game is made using Akili Interactive and even though it has gained a lot of traction in recent months, it made headlines last summer after becoming the first video game to be approved by the FDA as a medical treatment.
The video game was initially designed for kids between the age of 8 and 12 who suffer from ADHD. But it seems there could be further applications in the future. According to Gunning, the moment she saw that recovering COVID patients were struggling with memory loss and focus, she knew instantly that this video game could provide a lot of assistance.
At the moment, Gunning and her team have already launched a clinical study that will help them understand how effective the game can be in helping people who have survived COVID. The study will feature two groups which will include people that have recovered from COVID. One group will start to play the game and their cognitive response will be monitored by the team. The second group, on the other hand, won’t play the game.
Gunning and the team will then compare any cognitive improvements or changes within the two groups to see if the game has any effect. Speaking with a popular online publication, Gunning noted that there’s a very real need for innovative interventions in dealing with cognitive and mental health.
So far, she believes that her video game is doing a good job in opening the doors for other innovations that may come in the future. Gunning and the team also noted that the tests will be done on older adults who may already have cognitive issues.
It seems like the plan right now isn’t just to roll out the video game to COVID survivors. If the study goes well, there’s a huge chance that the game could be used by older people who may have memory and attention issues. After all, the game is already approved for children between the ages of 8 and 12. It will only need very minor modifications to target a more senior population.