from the dr.-mario-will-see-you-now dept
Way back in 2013, when the world was still a logical and sensical place, we wrote about a group of Finnish doctors experimenting treating those afflicated with ADHD with video games. This certainly must have struck many as an odd path to take, what with my generation being raised largely by parents that insisted that video games were bad for us. Specifically, at least in my household, there was great concern that these games would shorten attention spans and cause us to get ADHD in the first place.
We didn’t hear a great deal more on this novel use of video games until recently, but it’s still heartening to see that the FDA made a small bit of history recently by approving gaming treatment for those with ADHD. In this case, a game specifically designed to improve cognitive functioning can be prescribed by a doctor.
A new game designed to treat some ADHD symptoms in kids aged 8-12 has been officially approved by the The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning that anyone who wants to attempt treating children with the game needs to get a prescription first. As AP report, it’s not only the first time the organisation has approved the use of “digital therapy” for the treatment of ADHD, but it’s also “the first time the agency has ever authorized marketing of a game-based therapy for any condition”.
The game, called EndeavorRx, uses a combination of sensory and motor challenges to “help the player improve cognitive functioning”.
Now, it should be noted that the game was created by a developer based on a study performed by several doctors who were on the developer’s payroll. That certainly sucks. But, still, given that the application of certain games to help cognition in people suffering from ADHD is not entirely new, this probably calls into question the science on how effective this game is, not games in general.
What it doesn’t do is call into question what is becoming a more common interest in utilizing engaging gameplaying to address certain medical afflictions. And it isn’t just video games, either. In fact, lots of things parents used to worry about are now being used as therapeutics. For instance, Dungeons and Dragons underwent its own infamous moral panic episode, only to be turned years later into a form of therapy.
The real lesson here, or one real lesson, is that we should all beware a trendy moral panic.