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September 20, 2004
Video Games + Neurofeedback = Better Mental Health
The convergence of video games and neurofeedback are improving cognitive-processing capabilities across a wide variety of mental illnesses. Two companies leading this market are Epoch Innovation who provides neurogaming tools for dyslexia and CyberLearning Technology who is using neurofeedback-enhanced versions of off-the-shelf videogames like Ratchet & Clank to help children with attention-deficit disorder.
Neurogaming isn't just for kids, adults can benefit from neurofeedback as well. For example, The Wild Divine Project uses (bio) sensors attached to the fingers to monitor skin conductance and heart-rate variability via the computer's USB port.
At the cutting edge of research into the benefits of neurogaming is UCSF's Sophia Vinogradov. Dr. Vinogradov is investigating how computerized training might help people with schizophrenia learn new thinking and problem-solving skills. Her breakthrough work on neuroscience-guided remediation of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia was recently awarded a $1.1M grant from the NIMH.
It seems that ever since Steven Johnson shared how neurofeedback opened up new ways to understand his implicit reactions to daily events, the neurofeedback meme has been growing stronger. As venture capital continues to pour into companies using neurofeedback to improve software productivity and increase financial trading profitability it is important to realize that even these "non-medical efforts" will translate into more effective neurofeedback solutions to treat mental illnesses. This is the neurotechnology industry at work.
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