A brain-training iOS game can reportedly help improve the memory of patients with schizophrenia, thereby letting them lead more independent lives.
Called Wizard, the memory game was created by a team of psychologists, neuroscientists and professional game developers.
In a four-week study, use of the app was shown to improve patients’ episodic memory, which refers to the kind of short-term memory that helps people remember details like where they parked their car. This is one of the main parts of cognitive functioning affected by schizophrenia, although no licensed pharmaceutical treatment has been shown to improve it.
Patients who played the memory game versus those who did not found that they needed fewer attempts to remember the location of different patterns during a memory test.
“These are promising results and suggest that there may be the potential to use game apps to not only improve a patient’s episodic memory, but also their functioning in activities of daily living,” said professor Peter Jones of the University of Cambridge’s psychiatry department. “We hope that, used in conjunction with medication and current psychological therapies, this could help people with schizophrenia minimize the impact of their illness on everyday life.”
From apps designed to check for jaundice in babies to smartphone cases that can predict if you’re about to suffer a stroke, the iPhone is proving to be powerful new tool for doctors, medical researchers and patients alike.
Maybe Apple will one day be able to say, “Schizophrenia? There’s an app for that.”