Video Games Can Now Treat Depression, Thanks To AI

Technology capable of diagnosing, monitoring and even treating depression will soon be available in game form.

Scientists have developed a platform called Thymia with the goal of measuring mental health conditions. Thymia uses software that analyses different data points in order to accurately measure depressive cues, such as a patient’s eye gaze, micro-expressions, reaction times and memory. These pieces of information are gathered via simple video games that take neuropsychological patterns into account.

The platform can help monitor patient’s symptoms long-term, to see if their reactions to the games change over time with treatment. The CEO and founder of Thymia, Dr. Emilia Molimpakis, hopes that the platform will aid general practitioners in coming to a diagnosis and treatment plan faster for patients. Current questionnaires on mental health don’t always create an accurate snapshot of an individual’s situation. A 10-minute quiz generally offers little context on the intricacies of a person’s life, and it can be difficult for doctors to correctly diagnose a patient based off of that information alone.

There’s some skepticism about whether or not the idea will actually have the desired effect, and whether the platform itself really gets to the root of the issue at hand. Some question how in-depth a platform like Thymia would be compared to a quiz, as both aren’t necessarily going to give you detailed information about what’s going on.

Either way, the idea of a video game being able to diagnose depression is pretty neat.

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