17:24 14 February 2018
A video game, which involves using mental strategies to move a computerised rocket, has been found to help a small group of schizophrenia patients reduce the power of hallucinations.
In a small study, patients were able to land a rocket in the game when it was connected to the brain region sensitive to speech and human voices. The research team, from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the University of Roehampton, says that the technique could be used in patients who do not respond well to medications.
Patients with the condition experience nasty and threatening verbal hallucinations every day. When playing the video game using their own mental strategies, they are able to minimise or eliminate the symptom.
Dr Natasza Orlov, from King's College London, said: "The patients know when the voices are about to start - they can feel it, so we want them to immediately put this aid into effect to lessen them, or stop the voices completely."
Dr Orlov added: "Although the study sample size is small and we lacked a control group, these results are promising.
"We are now planning to conduct a randomised controlled study to test this technique in a larger sample."