A new diagnostic tool for depression

Okay, so when I first saw this headline, I started to laugh. I wanted to paraphrase Homer Simpson: Video games – is there anything they can’t do? But the more I thought about it, the more plausible it seemed. I know that when I’m in a depression, it feels like I’m moving through jell-o. Everything I do is slower; even my thoughts are sluggish, as if there is jell-o lining my neural pathways. It doesn’t surprise me one single bit that a depressed person would take longer to accomplish a task in a video game.

So… could we use something like this as a diagnostic tool for children, or in men? It’s much more difficult to diagnose depression in children, because the symptoms present themselves differently. And when men are depressed, there are two fairly common features: (1) they express it more as anger rather than sadness, and (2) they don’t want to seek help. This kind of test could be very helpful for patients who may be resistant to questions about their feelings. So goofy as the story is, it may well be good news.

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