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04.07.2023 | טו תמוז התשפג

Gaming Heals Depression

Gaming was used to break negative thinking patterns in a study by Prof. Moshe Bar of the BIU Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center


Prof. Moshe Bar, from the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, has discovered a way to use online gaming as a potential healing tool for individuals struggling with depression and anxiety.

According to Professor Bar, depression is not solely a molecular disorder but is also influenced by unhealthy thought patterns. Rumination, a common thought process associated with depression, traps individuals in negative cycles of interpretation and self-doubt.

Prof. Bar's research reveals that chronic rumination leads to the loss of neuron volume in critical brain areas, such as the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. Depressed individuals often exhibit physical characteristics that mirror their thought patterns, including fatigue, sluggishness, and a lack of motivation. However, motivating these individuals to take action is a significant challenge.

Facilitating Thought Progression
To address this challenge, Prof. Bar and his team developed a novel approach called Facilitating Thought Progression (FTP). This approach aims to rebuild damaged cortical infrastructures caused by rumination and restore individuals' ability to expand their thoughts and break free from negative thinking patterns.

FTP employs a simple yet effective method, similar to a traffic jam suddenly releasing and restoring the flow of cars. The approach involves a mobile game that facilitates thought progression without requiring significant effort. By engaging in activities such as structuring word chains, users can practice broad thinking and create new neurological pathways, developing resilience against depression.

50% Reduction in Symptoms
Early clinical trials of FTP have shown promising results, with users experiencing a 50% decline in symptoms after four 15-minute sessions per week. Professor Bar plans to commercialize the tool through partnerships with insurance companies, psychologists, and healthcare providers in the antidepressants market.

FTP has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of depression and anxiety, offering individuals a drug-free and user-friendly solution to regain a sense of safety and worthiness.