•  Children play video games on smartphones while attending a public event

Children play video games on smartphones while attending a public event (Photo : Getty Images/Sean Gallup )

Scientists have discovered that video games on smartphones do not only play a role as a source of entertainment as they have pointed their link to treating people who are suffering from depression.

Researchers from the University of Washington have found out that video games can help treat depression and can improve brain function, according to the Daily Mail. The study which is called Project EVO have shown that playing games can target a person's cognitive issues and improve a person's neurological performance, so that they do not get easily distracted.

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Project EVO can be installed on smart phones as well as tablets and is basically designed to improve a person's ability to focus especially with people with late-life depression and are aged 60 and above. Compared to behavioral therapy, this project is said to offer more effective and useful benefits.

In the research, most of the volunteers who participated were the ones who never had an experience using a tablet or a smartphone, let alone playing a video game, but the compliance was still at a 100 percent. The participants were asked to play the game five times a week for at least 20 minutes, and others played it even more.

Patricia Arean, the author of the study, said that these apps work better for people who are suffering from moderate depression because they help treat the condition. She explained that Project EVO was not designed to directly treat or cure the symptoms of depression but the effects of playing the game can result in improved cognitive function.

According to New China, a second study was conducted in a joint effort by UW and UCSF among 600 random people in the United States assessed with mild to moderate depression. In the study, the researchers found a significant improvement especially with those who were more than mildly depressed using the Project EVO or IPST, an app deployment of problem-solving therapy.

The promising results of these studies provide a great potential to help people who do not have an easy access to effective problem-solving therapy and other therapies. This study was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety.