Study: Casual games ease anxiety and depression

study casual games ease anxiety and depression bejeweled 3

Can playing casual video games be good for you? They might be if you suffer from clinical depression, according to the results of a new study carried out at East Carolina University (ECU) and underwritten by PopCap. The study followed 60 subjects suffering from clinical depression, and measured the effect that playing three family-friendly, non-violent games had upon their symptoms and mood. The result: subjects who played the casual games saw an average 57 percent reduction in depression symptoms compared to subjects who did not play the games, as well as improvements in overall mood and an average 20 percent reduction in anxiety levels.

“The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression,” said the director of ECU’s psychophysiology lab and biofeedback clinic Dr. Carmen Russoniello, in a statement. “Given that only 25 percent of people who suffer from depression are receiving treatment, it seems prudent to make these low cost, readily accessible casual games video games available to those who need them. They should be made available at health clinics, community centers, online ‘medical sites,’ and given out by therapists as a means of intervention.”

The study tracked 60 subjects suffering from clinical depression, monitoring their biochemical, pyscho-physiological, and psychological states. Half the subjects played PopCap’s Bejeweled, Peggle, and Bookworm Adventures games, while the rest were in a control group. The “video game group” saw across-the-board reductions in depression, with seven subjects classified as suffering from moderate to severe depression moving to minor or minimal depression categories during the study. The number of subjects classified as suffering from minor depression dropped from nine to four. Even physical symptoms of anxiety and depression improved by an average of 36 percent in to video game group.

The video game group demonstrated both short- and long-term benefits from playing: subjects in the video game group showed improvements in depression and anxiety after 30 minutes of game play compared to the control group, as well as long-term benefits spanning the month-long study.

The study claims to be the first to measure the impact of video games in reducing depression and anxiety. Results of the study should be available from the ECU Web site, although the link was not working at time of publication.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Gaming

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.
Computing

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Computing

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents with Adobe or a free option

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.
Computing

Nvidia’s next midrange card might be a GTX 1660 Ti, rumors suggest

Nvidia may be working on a non-RTX Turing graphics card called the 1660 Ti. Rumors suggest it will have around 20 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 2060 and will lack ray tracing support.