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VR Game Ties Depression To Brain Area

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the get-out-of-my-head dept.

Games 94

An anonymous reader writes "Science Daily is reporting that scientists are using a VR videogame that challenges spatial memory as a new tool to map out depression in the brain. 'Spatial memory' is how you orient yourself in space and remember how to get to places in the outside world. Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared, suggesting that their hippocampi (where spatial memory is based) were not working properly."

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The other way round. (3, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200346)

Except some people got into depression after being constantly sworn at, TKed and ambushed at spawn point.

Re:The other way round. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18200578)

ROFL LOL w00t!!!!!111!!11!1111one ... Thank you so much, I needed a laugh like the one I just had~! Thnx m4n!

Nothing new under the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205640)

So people who feel lost also get depressed? This is news?

Re:Nothing new under the sun (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18274788)

It's not so much that it's news but confirmation or correlation that when one feels/is lost in their orrientation to life that depression is not far off.

But, if they'll just find and follow the Roman Road [romansroad.com] they can get the help they need.

Re:The other way round. (3, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200674)

d34r pwn3d d00d,

j00 h4v3 n0 r16h7 2 1iv3 n3m0r3 c0z u 5ux0rz. P1z b3 r37urn1n6 2 ur 5p4wn p01n7 s0 1 c4n fr4g ur 5ry 455 s0m3 m0r3. lol, 1uz3r th0u6h7 h3 w4s 1337! pwn3d!

Now I'm not sure which is more depressing -- the dude who gets spawncamped or the fact that I just went 1337speak for a few lines. If you need me, I'll be sulking in the corner with Marvin. If I can FIND the corner. I'm SO depressed.

Re:The other way round. (3, Funny)

RobbieGee (827696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206580)

d34r pwn3d d00d,

j00 h4v3 n0 r16h7 2 1iv3 n3m0r3 c0z u 5ux0rz. P1z b3 r37urn1n6 2 ur 5p4wn p01n7 s0 1 c4n fr4g ur 5ry 455 s0m3 m0r3. lol, 1uz3r th0u6h7 h3 w4s 1337! pwn3d!

Translation to english for those that do not speak "1337":

Dear owned dude,

You have no right to live anymore because you suck. Please return to your spawn point so I can frag your sorry ass some more. Lol, loser thougth he was leet! Owned!

Now I'm not sure which is more depressing -- the dude who speaks leet in 2007 or the fact that I just translated that. If you need me, I'll be sulking in the corner with Eberlin. I'm SO depressed!

Depression = Play Video Games! (0, Offtopic)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200370)

...And for all of you who have really boring classes:

"Teacher, I'm feeling depressed! Can I go play video games?"

Clueless = Post on Slashdot (4, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200458)

Can't even be bothered to read the summary, eh? The research used a video game to find out that depressed people are bad at spatial memory. It did not show that playing video games cures depression.

Re:Clueless = Post on Slashdot (1)

6-tew (1037428) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200568)

I would read the article, but I found the summary too depressing... sigh

Here I am, brain the size of a planet (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200630)

And what do they ask me to do? Play video games... sigh.

Re:Here I am, brain the size of a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201920)

Wait...doesn't pot [sciencenews.org] stimulate the same area? So potheads will do shitty too? I WANNA TRY! :-)

Re:Clueless = Post on Slashdot (1)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200648)

But there have also been studies that tie video game playing to increased abilities in map reading and spatial perception.


Frankly, I think the whole thing's off. I'm constantly depressed and frequently drink myself into a stupor, only to wake up the next day having miraculously made it back to my apartment/hotel/whatever with absolutely no memory of how I got there. Kidneys intact, no less.

Re:Clueless = Post on Slashdot (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200662)

Ha ha. You just posted on Slashdot proving you're clueless.

Re:Clueless = Post on Slashdot (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200868)

Ha ha. You just posted on Slashdot proving you're clueless.

      Then I guess that makes three of us?

Re:Clueless = Post on Slashdot (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206104)

Can't even be bothered to read the summary, eh? The research used a video game to find out that depressed people are bad at spatial memory. It did not show that playing video games cures depression.

The summary, hell, the title of the entry is "VR Game Ties Depression To Brain Area," he obviously didn't even read that.

Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (4, Interesting)

Nalanthi (599605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200376)

When I get depressed it seems to have no effect on my ability to play FPS games and navigate the maps. Many of my friends marvel at my ability to play a map once and have my routes down. Indeed, much or my experience playing these games was while not attending class due to depression.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18200426)

The connection seems not to be borne out in reality, after all, if depression made people unable to navigate, how would emo people find their corner to cry in?

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (4, Funny)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200760)

no no, you have that all wrong, emo people get stuck in the corner, cant figure out how to get out, then start crying.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (1)

dfedfe (980539) | more than 6 years ago | (#18201024)

not depression as in "aw, I feel sad today"

depression as in "I've been depressed for the past 4 months..."

it takes more than a day for hippocampal volume to reduce, and thus to reduce spatial memory.. also, it is very likely the two have different underlying mechanisms (occasional sadness vs. clinical depression)

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203926)

Well, I'm depressed a majority of the time(the rest of the time I try to forget), I sit and feel helpless, and unable to fix my problems so i just try to forget them. I am constantly picking routes for driving my friends can't comprehend. I can pick north out almost every single time. I can track many objects moving at once. I drive during fast rush hour without any fear, while doing maneuvers that make others in the car scream(1 accident in 10 years, it was raining and cresting a hill).

If it decreases it, I'm curious to see how insanely aware I could be.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205626)

I used to be despressed all the time, and like you, I could never get my shit together.

The solution? Just forget all about yourself for a while, and make it a goal to never end a day before all that should be done is done.
Now I' more or less always one hour ahead of my schedule. I try to fill much of my spare time with creativity, and I feel better than i have in a long time.
You could to, it just comes down to realizing that the only way to be happy is to stop caring about beeing happy for a while, and instead focusing on the things that make you unhappy.
Most of the time, procrastination is a good way to get despressed.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210192)

"Most of the time, procrastination is a good way to get depressed."

I must be the odd one out here. Procrastination for me does not result in me getting down. If I dwell on the idea that I "should" be doing something (like whitening my teeth, buying an iPod, or watching TV), well then of course I will get depressed. Actually, now that I think about it, if I were to be concerned with filling my time by watching TV, buying an iPod, and whitening my teeth I would be depressed.

Ahh, it's Friday. I'm looking forward to a weekend of procrastination to cure the work week blues...

Re:Anecdotal Evidence to the contrary. (3, Informative)

cmarkn (31706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210658)

I used to be despressed[sic] all the time


Perhaps you were wasted all the time, but you know nothing about depression. Depression is a disease, not a choice. Do you tell people with diabetes "just forget all about yourself for a while"? No, you tell them to watch what they eat and take their medicine. That is the same thing you should tell people with depression. It is ignorant blather like this that makes depressed people turn suicidal.

So pretend you have your shit together, as you claim, and only offer your opinions on matters you actually know something about. That way, you won't be killing people with your ignorance.

Could it be.... (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200434)

Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game...

Maybe they just don't give a shit!

"Oh, why bother."

That's what I was wondering too (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#18201080)

That's what I was wondering too. This whole experiment reminds me of a joke: a scientists puts a flea under on a piece of paper and shouts "JUMP!". The flea jumps. The scientist cuts the flea's legs, puts it back on the same piece of paper and shouts "JUMP!" The flea doesn't jump. The scientist concludes, "When you cut a flea's legs, it become deaf."

And here's why:

1. I'm guessing they didn't take experienced FPS players, but people who had to get past a learning curve. Some probably not even interested in that game, or that kind of game in the first place. I.e., people for whom it was basically work, and who had to learn for that work. I can tell you first hand that being depressed and/or demotivated can impact both work and learning _majorly_.

Sorry, every game has a learning curve, even some you'd think are the most intuitive things and made by the greatest designers. Yet get a non-gamer at the keyboard and you might get an enlightening experience. We've had decades of getting the basic notions and reflexes hammered into our heads, they didn't. Someone else once compared it to a "game grammar". We know it, and even tutorials assume that we already know it. Non-gamers have to learn it from scratch.

I'd expect the problems to be worse in some game designed by psychologists with zero game design background.

So, at any rate, they're asking those people not only to play a game, but likely for most of them it's asking them to learn how to play an experimental game. And it'll be a lot of learning, and a lot of concentration and learning involved. In some cases it will take a lot of willpower to get past that learning curve, if it gets into the frustrating range.

Do I expect someone in their darkest depression to make that effort and muster the concentration? Nope. "Oh, why bother." is pretty much the attitude I'd expect there.

2. It's also worth mentioning that depression isn't just some abstract mood, but brings with it a lot of bad thoughts. It's not just some abstract mood indicator, but a shit-coloured set of glasses that tints (and taints) all perceptions, experiences and expectations. (Including those about the games, but also RL stuff.) So those people are not just abstractly "depressed", but people who've had a heck of a lot of bad and depressing experiences lately, and got disappointed a lot lately, by sheer virtue of that depression tainting their perceptions of it all. They'll tend to think about it a lot.

So if the spatial orientation game requires lots of memorizing routes and such, there'll be inherently less mental power available for that. Where a "normal" person might think "ah-ha, I have to go through the corridor on the left to get back", the depressed one may well be thinking "what a piece of crap, I bet I'll get passed for promotion again, and I bet everyone is gossipping about me behind my back too. Why the heck do I even bother? I might as well kill myself now."

Even if they might take refuge in gaming, they'll require a game that can basically turn off those thoughts, or thinking completely. Something which is simple and captivating, and doesn't require much thinking. Definitely not something which requires complex thought on its own.

3. Or, if you will, 2b: motivation. Remember that we're talking people which are already depressed and tend to perceive everything as worse than it already is, including any goals and rewards in the game, and including the payoff of any long term plan. So if the game isn't immediately rewarding and fun, their motivation will sink much faster than everyone else's. If you make them do something as boring and pointless as just jumping and running through a maze, it will just be perceived as even more boring and pointless. If it requires long term memorizing and planning, the distant reward for it better be extremely worth it, or since it'll be perceived as (A) less of a reward, and (B) as a plan likely to fail anyway. And if that perception drops below a certain point, they'll be too demotivated to try hard enough.

Basically I'm willing to admit that a good game to measure that _could_ be made, but it would take a damn good designer to make it fun at literally every step. Do I suspect some psychologist with no game design background to pull that feat? Nope, not really.

Just finished reading the paper.. (4, Insightful)

dfedfe (980539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201210)

Based on the paper at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/1 64/3/516 [psychiatryonline.org] I can sort of address these points..
(all quotes are from the paper)

1. Correct, no experienced FPS players: "Given a likely relationship between familiarity with video games and the outcome measure, individuals reporting high expertise in video games were excluded"

I am probably not free to copy the whole paragraph about the program, but here's the gist: The program was a virtual reality town. On day 1 subjects got 20 minutes of orientation then 30 minutes navigating around the town to destinations selected by the computer. Their ability to find specific locations was then tested, and if they didn't perform well they got 30 more minutes of practice.
Three days later they got 20 minutes to get used to the program again. Two to four hours later their memory of locations in the town was tested (they were tasked to navigate to a new set of locations, different from the specific destinations used on day 1).

Keep in mind this is not a game (despite ./'s title), it is just a virtual navigation task. They don't say, but I expect it was just using arrow keys to move around the virtual town. Not much learning curve.

2. They didn't have to memorize many routes. The whole virtual city (from the figure they show) is basically a big, curved X shape with maybe 2-3 other side roads in total. They just had to learn the basic set up of the town so they could go back to a location when asked to.

Regarding the "less mental power", the depressed subjects performed just as well as healthy controls on a spatial working memory task. The distinction is important: the game task tests navigation memory learned over more or less 2-3 days (plus the short refresher on the day of testing), working memory involves manipulating things online. If anything, the latter is probably more challenging (I could be wrong, though, I haven't done the two tasks myself).

3. I dunno, 30 minutes of testing doesn't seem like long enough to really reduce motivation. They must be somewhat motivated in the first place, though, to even show up for the two days of testing.

Still... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204120)

Still, I'm talking from experience. I've been through an episode of depression and demotivation, and I've been known to throw games away in half an hour because I couldn't be arsed to even learn stuff like using the handbrake in an arcade racing game. I can assure you that 30 minutes is _plenty_ to lose motivation in that situation. And 2-3 days is plenty to have your mind occupied with other things, instead of the route you learned yesterday.

Regarding "less mental power", that was maybe the wrong word, but here's what I was trying to say: not that a depressed person is stupid, but that they have other things on their mind. That while a normal person would maybe devote a few more minutes in the evening and some more priority to remembering the route they learned yesterday, a depressed person might go "oh, screw it, it's just another pointless thing that won't work anyway" and retreat back to their own depressing thoughts. So, sure, I'm not surprised that someone would do just as well in a short term task, but worse in a 2-3 days one.

Re:Still... (1)

turnipsatemybaby (648996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207456)

As someone who is diagnosed with clinical depression, I completely concur with you. I would also like to extend your statement a bit. It doesn't take much at all to really throw me down into the dumps, and takes me a while to get back up to a really functioning level again.

When I am at my worst, besides the constant bad thoughts kicking in, even when I am trying to focus on an actual task, it's like there's this fog clouding over my thinking. It's like my IQ has dropped a few dozen points or something. I simply can't wrap my head around anything remotely complex, unless it is something I am already familiar with (ie: the kind of thing you could recite off the top of your head when woken up at 2am). When I am in this kind of state, I resort to things as "doing the dishes" and "taking out the garbage" as major accomplishments, and I have to work at not beating myself up over not doing more. This is more a motivation thing than a brainpower thing, but the two end up swirling around each other. When it's that much more difficult to do something, you're that much less motivated to do it.

It's a terrible state that most people just can't appreciate. It sounds like your depression was primarily situational, and that eventually it lifted. I'm glad for you. I can have everything in my life going my way and still be morosely depressed. It's bloody annoying. :\

Re:Just finished reading the paper.. (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204630)

I am probably not free to copy the whole paragraph about the program, but here's the gist

Dude, you're on the internet, you can do anything. Just make sure to tick the 'post anonymously' box.

(Perhaps what I should have done right now, but whatever)

Re:That's what I was wondering too (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202122)

It's a spatial test, nothing more. It's not a game at all.

People who perform poorly in spatial tests may have a problem with the hippocampus.
People who suffer from depression* have problems with the hippocampus.

*not being depressed about something, but suffering from depression.

Re:That's what I was wondering too (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204264)

I a sense, when you suffer from depression, you're also automatically depressed about something or about a lot of somethings. As I was saying, depression isn't something that stays isolated, like say a bruise or an abcess. It taints your very perception, experiences and expectations of the world and the events around you. It's, if you will, more like being colour blind: everything you see around you is changed by that condition, and different from what a normal person sees. So events and situations which to a normal person would seem anywhere between "who cares" and "ah, shit happens" or "oh well, you have to take the good and the bad", to a depressed person seem like a lot more horrible and personal. The very fact that you seem to get all the bad stuff in the universe (by sheer virtue of perceiving it that way) while everyone around you seems happy or is at least having a lot less problems, makes you question your self-worth, karma, etc. It makes you think about it, think about why all that bad stuff keeps happening to you (without many results, since it's just a perception), think about what you maybe did wrong (without results again, since usually you didn't), in some cases think why some people seem to avoid you (because they don't like hearing your depressing stuff again), etc. It can be sorta like daydreaming, except it's like a perpetual day-nightmare. Briefly, again, there are _lots_ of somethings to be depressed about.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

pinkstuff (758732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201372)

My sentiments exactly. Also, often illness such as chronic fatigue can cause depression AND poor memory all round, not just spatial.

Or they don't get out much... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203340)

Spatial memory is probably like the rest of the brain--exercising it helps. How frequently do these depressed folk explore new areas? As in, new physical locations? Compare that to a control group.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214924)

Actually, it's simpler than that.

Depression causes a general, progressive decline in cognitive and (later) psychomotor function.

This decline slowly starts to reverse after remission has been achieved.

My therapist did research on this, and the results are pretty conclusive.

Trying to link depression to a hippocampal function phenotype might go places, but I seriously doubt it. And their study appears to essentially not be properly equipped to differentiate general decline in CNS function from anything related to the putative phenotypes. As it is, they're just measuring a decline in hippocampal function.

However, the study can be useful, if taken the right way. Basically, it may allow the development of another objective metric for cognitive decline, which may be useful in diagnosis and determining the severity of the animal-model features of depression (as opposed to the mood related features, etc).

Now, if they could just come up with a better prognostic tool for determining the class of antidepressant that will work for a given patient... Preferrably without needing to resort to a SPECT analysis or somesuch.

Come to think of it, there are some pretty good prognostic markers, but the real problem is that it takes ages before state of the art becomes common knowledge in the research community, and ages more before this becomes common knowledge among psychiatrists, and forever before it becomes common knowledge with the general practicioners.

That, and a lot of patients cannot be treated in the current political environment because they are dopamine-deficient. And the opioid-deficient ones are even worse off, quite often.

Here's the abstract (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18200440)

The actual research was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Here's the abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Findings on spatial memory in depression have been inconsistent. A navigation task based on virtual reality may provide a more sensitive and consistent measure of the hippocampal-related spatial memory deficits associated with depression. METHOD: Performance on a novel virtual reality navigation task and a traditional measure of spatial memory was assessed in 30 depressed patients (unipolar and bipolar) and 19 normal comparison subjects. RESULTS: Depressed patients performed significantly worse than comparison subjects on the virtual reality task, as assessed by the number of locations found in the virtual town. Between-group differences were not detected on the traditional measure. The navigation task showed high test-retest reliability. CONCLUSIONS: Depressed patients performed worse than healthy subjects on a novel spatial memory task. Virtual reality navigation may provide a consistent, sensitive measure of cognitive deficits in patients with affective disorders, representing a mechanism to study a putative endophenotype for hippocampal function.

Re:Here's the abstract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201854)

I have an alternate theory. Perhaps people with poor spatial memory are less skillful at managing their depression, and are thus more likely to seek help and be diagnosed.

I don't buy their conclusion on intuitive grounds, but I could still see how there might be a connection of some sort.

yep (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200462)

'Spatial memory' is how you orient yourself in space and remember how to get to places in the outside world. Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly

That's because in space, nobody can hear you scream.

Re:yep (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200626)

> > 'Spatial memory' is how you orient yourself in space and remember how to get to places in the outside world. Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly

Thanks to time travel, am now 37 times older than the Universe itself. Thanks to having a brain the size of the planet, I remember every place I've been in space. Spatial awareness hasn't helped me one bit.

Would you like to hear about how long I spent in the car park at Milliway's? (The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.)

Then there was the million and a half years I spent with a bad leg, walking around in circles in a swamp, just to prove the point. Before you lot got in the way, I was about to spend another million years before trying to walk backwards. You know, for the variety.

> That's because in space, nobody can hear you scream.

What would be the point in screaming? Space is miserable enough without having to remember being there.

Now would someone please hold my head up. If God took the time out to write his Final Message To His Creation, I may as well read it.

Re:yep (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200832)

That's because in space, nobody can hear you scream.

      But look on the bright side: In space, you can't hear anybody scream...

Well, duh.. (3, Insightful)

hindumagic (232591) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200476)

I'm sure that most people have noticed that they don't seem to do as well when they're feeling down. I would try to cheer up by playing a game, but my gameplay would suck, which would further reinforce my annoyed, crappy feeling. A vicious circle.

And the opposite works for me as well - if I'm feeling positive and happy, my perception is that I'm doing better than usual. It's been a while now since I don't play games that often anymore, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't just my perception, and that I really would do better. Better reaction times, faster decisions, and better outcomes.

If the problem is really depression . . . (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200872)

you can't play a game, distract yourself or even "think" yourself out of it - rather like expecting a drunk to become sober by performing some task or "think" themselves sober.

Of course, if the game takes long enough, it could be somewhat distracting while the effects of depression work themselves out. The equivalent there would be our drunkard concentrating on some task until they were sober.

Re:If the problem is really depression . . . (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201832)

If the problem is really depression . . . you can't play a game, distract yourself or even "think" yourself out of it - rather like expecting a drunk to become sober by performing some task or "think" themselves sober.

And why not? We humans have to think of something before it can happen, you know.

Maybe depressed and drunk people just aren't very good at thinking, and everyone else who was previously depressed or drunk at one point have already convinced themselves that they weren't inflicted by these problems?

forward implication (2, Insightful)

ifakemyadd (1070340) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200540)

It seems important to make clear that it is most likely the depression which is causing the measured effect here. This is likely, as Depression generally affects a person's ability to fully perform a variety of tasks. This research seems only to confirm that notion.

Objective test for depression? (2, Interesting)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200576)

From TFA:

Thus, the video game is a more revealing measure of spatial memory and a more sensitive measure of hippocampal dysfunction -- a more powerful tool for exploring the link between the hippocampus and depression. It may one day be a tool for detecting hippocampus deficits in depressed patients.


Emphasis mine.

I'd like to see an objective rather than subjective test for depression.

If nothing else, an objective test would be useful in convincing potential patients ( and those who care about them ) that the potential patient has depression, rather than just "feels bad" [1]. The results of, say, a blood test vs. the responses on a questionnaire.

This seems like a step in the right direction, but also still seems subjective.

[1] Yes, I know severe depression looks a lot worse than someone who just "feels bad", but if someone is spending hours/days in the fetal position crying, that's kind of a hint. Thinking of detecting depression before it gets that bad.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200752)

I'd like to see an objective rather than subjective test for depression
Well the problem here is that we are talking about a condition that is defined by subjective feelings. If I have some objective measure that you are depressed, but you say that you feel great, how could I be right? Also, it's much cheaper and faster to ask you how you feel rather than to perform an MRI .

Also, while depression appears to be associated with hippocampal deficit, hippocampal problems could occur for a variety of reasons other than depression.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#18201064)

Also, it's much cheaper and faster to ask you how you feel rather than to perform an MRI


Oh I agree, and as you point out a hippocampal deficit does not necessarily indicate depression.

However, perhaps you might agree that a survey isn't the most precise tool for diagnosing an illness?

After all, as others have pointed out, a person with depression might not answer the survey honestly ( ex: meh... I don't care, so I'll tell them what they want to hear so they'll leave me alone ).

Something like a blood test would seem to be cheaper than an MRI, and perhaps more accurate as well. Hardly perfect of course... blood serotonin levels don't seem to correlate well with brain levels, for instance.

Whatever the mechanism, more accurate objective diagnosis would seem very beneficial.

Re:Objective test for depression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202296)

As a drop out from the psych world 30 years ago i can tell you this is all BS. Until there is a CAUSAL connection made it is just eye candy. Psychs are in love with MRI's because it makes them think they are doing science. But they are only doing the observation.

There are NO causal links between any of this. The whole Serotonin uptake theory is built on quicksand. What a waste of time and money. Here are the facts about depression

It is a subjective condition and ask people 2 years later you get

33% get better
33% stay the same
33% get worse

It makes NO difference if they are treated or not. Ask for the facts - you will get these.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202416)

What makes you think that your vaguely described experience ("drop out from the psych world" means what?) and your acknowledged absence from the field for decades gives you any sort of authority?

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215266)

There is some small core of truth to his statement, although not the way he put it.

Psychotherapy, with the exception of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is generally not particularly effective in dealing with "true" depression (which excludes stuff like bereavement, etc), and a "good listener" will do as well as anything but CBT. This has been verified via extensive testing.

MRI is not a very effective tool, compared to PET and SPECT.

Inclusion/exclusion criteria for drug trials leave you with patients you will virtually never see in clinical practice, making the efficacy numbers useless. This also causes issues with women, african-americans, etc.

Drug trials almost exclusively rely on drug-placebo or drug-tricyclic comparisons. It is rare to see a study that is statistically useful, i.e. has drug, placebo, comparable other drug, drug of different class.

SSRIs have no statistically significant difference in efficacy, time to onset, or any other parameter of relevance, aside from CYP enzyme profile. Their efficacy is very limited.

SNRIs have no statistically significant advantages over SSRIs, but more severe withdrawal symptoms, although there is some weak evidence of shorter time to onset.

TCAs are not very viable, due to intolerable side-effects and cardiotoxicity. Their efficacy is variable.

DRIs work very well on several subtypes of depression. Statistically significant advantage in most cases. Fast onset. Abuse potential. Not available, due to the latter point.

MAOIs work very well on most types of depression, if the right type is chosen. One study shows 85% success rate in treating refractory depression with tranylcypromine at doses of 1.3-2.4mg/kg/dy or so. Onset varies from hours to weeks, depending on the type of depression and the choice of MAOIs. However, they require an intelligent doctor and an intelligent patient to be safe, so they are not viable for mass marketing due to the shortage of both.

etc...

I could go on, or even cite this stuff, but this is /...

Bottom lines:

- Psychologists are often full of crap, and charge exorbitants of money for something they themselves have proven equivalent to a free conversation with your minister or what-have-you. Not counting the CBT people here, of course; there's ample evidence of efficacy for CBT.

- Doctors, and even psychiatrists, are commonly not really up-to-date in their own field, and lack familiarity with any good tools other than what in programming terms would be called shotgun debugging. Doing research in clinical practice is frowned upon, despite being the only way to get real-world applicable results. Using "experimental" tools, such as SPECT, is frowned upon, despite a proven track-record.

- Drug companies develop drugs for profit and damage control, not efficacy. That is, they are designed to do the least amount of short-term harm in the hands of J. Doe for the least amount of production expense. Never mind osteoporosis, asthma issues, weight gain, etc, as those fall outside the scope of the FDA approval process, being long-term and all.

- Simple base research is omitted, particularly where it might threaten the profitability of meds, even competitors' meds.

- Depression sucks, and will continue being the featured syphilitic blow-job of our times for the forseeable future. (WHO projections are rather pessimistic. Mortality rates aren't exactly great, and don't seem to improve. And, like syphilis, a lot can be done to prevent/treat, but isn't.)

So, I guess that's what he was getting at.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

mahniart (909168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203134)

Can anyone link to an article that shows that an MRI can be used for a clinical diagnosis of either a major depressive episode or major depressive disorder? Example, some structural change in the hippocampus or amgydala? I haven't seen that, but prior posts seem to claim a MRI would be useful for diagnosis. Even if fMRIs show differences between those with clinical depression and no mood disorder, can anyone link to an article showing that an individual fMRI scan is useful as a diagnostic tool?

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205116)

No, this absolutely cannot be done at this time. I believe the discussion was hypothetical.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215120)

Here you go.

http://amenclinics.com/bp/atlas/ch7.php [amenclinics.com]

That's SPECT, not MRI, but it shows this stuff pretty clearly. Compare with some of the other stuff there if you like.

You will not see structural changes. You will, however, see differences in metabolic activity, etc.

And, yes, these can be used as a diagnostic tool, as well as an aid in selecting proper medication to deal with the problem, which will often be necessary by the time you get such a scan.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215096)

The condition is not defined by subjective feelings. Have a look at some SPECT scans, for instance.

Subjective feelings are frequently employed in making a diagnosis, however.

There are specific alterations in neurotransmission patterns, glucose metabolism, and other objective, measurable features of central nervous system function. And there are measurable psychomotor and cognitive deficits that develop over time.

Also, the animal models generally reflect a set of fairly objective behavioural features that we can use in working with depression. Essentially, it is most readily induced in animal studies by making a situation hopeless, negative and unavoidable over an extended period of time. You give up, and lie down to die, in a sense. Nothing matters, or is worth doing, because you're just waiting to die anyway, and there's nothing you can do about your situation at your current energy level (or, by the time there is, you have lost too much function to be able to rise to the challenge without extensive rehabilitation).

These are the animal-model features, and their presence can generally be verified in a fairly objective manner. There are also scales that quantify these features in a manner that shows a significantly positive correlation with prognostic markers, etc...

Interestingly enough, many commonly employed scales have very poor severity resolution ability in the to end of the spectrum. When I maxed out a number of more common scales, the MADRS scale had the ability to track variations with a good correlation to the subjective feelings of severity as ranked by people living with me and objective impairment in function and cognition. At all scores from about 20 through 50 on MADRS, I have usually retained a constant near-max score on HAM-D, except my HAM-D improves if I'm too screwed up to get out of bed, or even move, over an extended period of time. Of course, those are the times when being dead would be an objective improvement if only considering oneself.

I think an FDA-mandated scale with a solid mathematical basis (factor analysis, normalization, etc), and good resolution throughout the spectrum from having-a-great-day-every-day to stark-raving-mad-and-needs-weeks-in-the-ICU-before -treatment-begins, might have a pretty interesting impact on future developments in the field, particularly with regards to clinical practice and drug efficacy trials.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202546)

If nothing else, an objective test would be useful in convincing potential patients ( and those who care about them ) that the potential patient has depression

Indeed, this is one of the major problems with all mental disorders. It results in a combination of over-diagnosis by incompetent or greedy doctors, self-diagnosis by internet hypochondriacs, parents that want "stable" children, and legitimately ill people that are told to "snap out of it" by family and friends. In all it makes a mess of the mental health field that would be greatly mitigated by the ability to make more objective assessments.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

mahniart (909168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203074)

Here are the DSM IV criteria for a major depressive episode: Some are objective (weight change and sleep pattern disturbance): A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure. Note: Do note include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations. (1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood. (2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others) (3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains. (4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day (5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down) (6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day (7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick) (8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others) (9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide B. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode. C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. D. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism). E. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204026)

Here are the DSM IV criteria...

Oh, I'm quite familiar with them :(

I think the DSM, as the basis of diagnosis is illustrative of the problem I was talking about. It's accurate in proportion to the skill of the observer; the most objective criteria tend to be the least indicative, and the most indicative are most subjective. The latter especially means that they can easily be denied, ignored, or even faked by a patient, and easily overlooked by family and friends.

It's not really a knock against the DSM as a lamentation that our diagnostic tools for psychological problems so much less reliable than those in general medicine.

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214986)

There are objective tests. SPECT, for instance.

Have a look at the Amen Clinic pages. They show SPECT images of patients with various mental problems, including depression. Also, they identify several characteristic types of depression, based on the SPECT findings, that respond to different classes of drugs.

The most visible depressions to someone "on the outside", are light depressions (when the mood features are dominant, and there is still energy to bitch about it) and severe depressions with psychotic features (when the whole lost-touch-with-reality, killing-yourself-for-spilling-some-milk, no-rationality-left kind of behaviour takes over).

To me, I've generally been crying more in my better periods, when I have feelings, and actually have any tears left to cry. In a bad period, I can cut myself deeply and not even feel any physical pain, let alone emotional response. If my sister had died during her recent hospital stay, I wouldn't have felt anything. And I've always cared deeply for my family. I would grieve during the subsequent better period, though.

Crying is a good sign that it's not "too severe", unless it is accompanied by psychosis. By which I don't mean to say that spending your days crying in fetal position is a good thing, just that it's about halfway along the spectrum of severity in depression. Which should give people some idea of how bad the really bad cases are, or how comparatively "light" the more "common" depressions are (and how this leads to statistics about full recovery in a few months, etc.)...

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215630)

Well, the SPECT test you mention seems a bit... erm... contraversial.

http://www.quackwatch.org/06ResearchProjects/amen. html [quackwatch.org]

Re:Objective test for depression? (1)

zuiraM (1027890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216828)

Yeah. I know that. Which it also states on the website itself.

In fact, a lot of stuff in psychiatry is controversial.

Oddly enough, low-efficacy drugs (SSRIs), zero-efficacy therapy (non-CBT psychology), etc. isn't.

As for the site you quoted, they seem to be missing a few vital points.

For instance, they are criticizing the technology as being experimental. No-one is arguing against that. Call him an "early adopter". Field use in clinical practice is the only way to get research done that is targeted at clinical use, rather than at maximizing profits. Plus, showing distinct differences in organ function can help get people to accept the legitimacy of illness and such. Showing people the reason why compliance is important can also be a good thing.

The language is criticized, blatantly ignoring that the language they are critizising is aimed at patients, not professional. Wordings like "brain balance" are a lot easier for a regular patient to relate to than intricate discussions of the topography of the brain and so forth. Similarly, saying "soul" better describes to the patient what you're referring to than any intricate philosophical treatment of the topic of what comprises the essential features of personality and cognition before launching into the various theories on which features correlate with what in the brain.

I never tell the PHBs what kind of algorithms, schemas, etc. I'm using, unless they ask. Because that's my job, not theirs, and I should explain things to them in terms they can understand, not blather on in techspeak. If they show an awareness of the subject, and an interest in further details, I'd be perfectly happy to level with them, but no way am I going to market myself on technobabble.

For efficacy comparisons, that's pretty simple. If anyone out there that doesn't have a vested interest, but does have access to SPECT, wants to, they should have no problem doing a serious trial. Of course, the fact that e.g. the drug companies don't do this, could indicate that a lot of people are quite uncomfortable with the idea of potentially diminishing their own sphere of influence by indicating that their popular theory isn't all-encompassing.

As for patients doing better, that could be evaluated. The ones I know of have had little or no success elsewhere, but that's just anecdotal again. The identified depression subtypes show a lot better correlation with what I've observed (trait clusters, med response) than any other prevailing theories that I've seen.

False positives and negatives: the critics are probably in a better position to test this. Amen Clinics don't get enough patients fitting regular inclusion/exclusion criteria to evaluate this themselves.

Whether these functional changes are primary or secondary is also most likely irrelevant. Abnormal perfusion and/or metabolism indicates a potential treatment target. Whether the abnormality is due to the illness or causing it doesn't really matter, as long as the treatment works. For research, it matters, of course. A lot. For treatment, the results matter. But, yeah, he should post some more data about any clues he might have about this. My guess is the astroglia are involved in long term downregulation of perfusion and/or metabolism as a result of abnormal activity in those areas, accounting for the slow normalization over time. But some data would always be nice. It would be nice to have the same concerns addressed for MRI, or any of the popular research techniques, too.

But, yeah, David Amen has taken it all a bit far, and has an obvious, financially motivated agenda. So does virtually everyone else. I think the tests are useful in relation to depression. And I have no ties to the clinic, nor have I ever been treated there, nor received a SPECT elsewhere. YMMV.

Method of discovery (0, Redundant)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200742)

It was actually quite accidental. First they put their gardener, Jobe, into the VR machine. When he got out, they asked how he felt - he said he was feeling a little depressed. One of the researchers made an off-hand comment about how he hated feeling down, and wished the causes of depression could be isolated. Then Jobe told 'em it was part of the hippocampi.

"Redundant"? (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214032)

OK, if you wanted to mod that "offtopic" or whatever, I could understand. But how exactly is a Lawnmower Man reference "redundant" in a story about VR?

Depressed? (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200766)

Maybe their game can detect depression, but by posting an article about a videogame on Slashdot and not including a download link (or at least a vendor), you're gonna *cause* angst and depression!

<whine>I wanna plaaaaaay!</whine>

Re:Depressed? (1)

funkdancer (582069) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202258)

Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing how I'd compare at it. C'mon, can some l33t g00gl3 h3xOrs please post urls? :)

Great science (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200820)

Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared, suggesting that their hippocampi (where spatial memory is based) were not working properly."

      Hello??? People with depression perform poorly at JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. I call BS...

Great post (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202090)

from the article:
"Earlier studies showed that people with mood disorders tend to have smaller hippocampi than nondepressed people. Other studies showed that depressed people have memory problems. This study strengthened the evidence of a link between the hippocampus and depression by showing that people with hippocampus dysfunction -- as revealed by spatial memory problems detected by the new video game -- are more likely to be depressed."

the video game helps determine if they have a problem with spatial memory, they may have a problem with the hippocampus, which is an indicator of depression.

Why is it the people who state BS, are always stunningly wrong?
oh wait, that's because you were too busy try to show how smart you are without bothering to educate yourself.

Re:Great science (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207516)

Not necessarily. I find my creativity is greatly enhanced when I'm depressed. Unfortunately, It's harder to put that creativity to work when I'm depressed.

Hippocampus & Depression (2, Informative)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200824)

The hippocampus doesn't only handle spatial memory... it's also the store for contextual memory. (It takes longer to develop than the amygdyla, which is why most people don't remember much of their early childhood years). Given that most depression / psychological problems that aren't hardware in nature appear to be due to a mismatch between contextual memory and the limbic brain's emotional memory that the brain needs to learn to resolve, maybe this isn't much of a surprise.

Although it might explain why eye movement can be used in therapy to reprogram people's responses to trauma.

Re:Hippocampus & Depression (1)

DarkGreenNight (647707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203562)

Hey, that sounds about right. Now I understand why during the last year I could not remember, without great effort, what had I done the previous days. My spatial memory didn't seem to be affected, but that's probably because I've always been great at that, and not so much at recalling events.

This calms me much, as I was beggining to think that it could be something more agresive.

Not in my experience. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18200846)

I've been plagued with depression all my life. It runs in my family. I've been playing with mechanical engineering for 2 years now and never bothered to use AutoCAD. I've always made my designs in my head and transfered them to paper. I'm damn good at it and I would consider my spacial thinking skills to be above average.

Re:Not in my experience. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200878)

I'm damn good at it and I would consider my spacial thinking skills to be above average.

      Says the Devil's advocate: Ahh, but just think how good you would be if you weren't depressed! :-)

Re:Not in my experience. (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201884)

Homer: "Excuse me, may I play Devil's Advocate for a moment?"

Wrong way around, (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 6 years ago | (#18200998)

They are probably depressed because they cant find where they are going.

I'm firing up ktorrent (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#18201044)

Anyone seeding this game?

The spiders (1)

Illogical Spock (1058270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201264)

Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared, suggesting that their hippocampi (where spatial memory is based) were not working properly.


Or maybe depressed people just hasn't tried hard enough to play the game? Or maybe depressed people are under influence of some drug that makes the game harder to them? Or...

This type of conclusion remembers me the joke of the scientist that put an spider on the table and knocks on the table. The spider runs away. Then, he put the spider back on the table again and again, cutting away one of it's legs everytime and again knocking the table, and the spider runs everytime. Finally, the scientist cuts the last leg of the spider, knocks on the table several times and the spider don't run.

His conclusion: "The spiders hears with it's legs..."

Re:The spiders (1)

dfedfe (980539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201788)

The depressed patients did just as well as the healthy controls on a spatial working memory task, plus they actually showed up to the test in the first place (as I mentioned in a different comment), which both suggest that the patients were actuall motivated to perform the task.

The research paper this press release is based on also makes clear that all the subjects had been off medication for 4 weeks (give or take, I don't recall exactly).

Slashdotters seem to have very little respect for the research and peer-review system that papers have to go through to be published. As if the questions that occur to people in the first 30 seconds on hearing some subject don't occur to the people spending months doing the research...

Re:The spiders (1)

nfgaida (68606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206374)

Slashdotters seem to have very little respect for the research and peer-review system that papers have to go through to be published.

I'd say that this behavior isn't limited to slashdotters. I've seen this type of behavior in the american population at large. (haven't had experience in other cultures)

Not necessarily cause-effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201284)

What this article is implying is that the spatial orientation area is bad and that's why they're depressed. They are implying that one causes the other, which is not necessarily true. there could be other areas and this bad orientation could be caused by lack of some other chemicals that impact this brain region as well.

For i.e., if you find that when you have a migrane you're very bad with light (too sensitive), so does that mean that your headache is caused by bad vision centers?

F(AILZORS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201308)

knows for sure what recent Sys Admin rules to follow is the ultimate development model under the GPL. both believed that Your own beer a super-organised from now on or First, you have to Discuusion I'm be any fucking large - keep your users. BSD/OS A fact: FreeBSD code sharing 'Yes' to any IS THE ULTIMATE lost its earlier something done to say there have an arduous Anyone that thinks 'Yes' to any clear she couldn't numbers continue ~280MB MPEG off of been many, not the consistent with the isn't a lemonade Marketing surveys enjoy the loud Ops or any of the Ofone single puny Let's keep to

Wow... (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202034)

This story is really depressing. I think I'll go cap some noobs.

Damn, I missed.

additional experimental questions (1)

Xybot (707278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202282)

1 did you enjoy playing the game?
2 did you get a sense of accomplishment from achieving the game tasks?
3 would you rather have just stayed in bed?

I kind of doubt spatial awareness problems are linked with depression, like alot of people here my instinctual reaction was, "perhaps the depressed people would rather not be doing this?"

I suffer from clinical depression and I know that when I'm having a bad day. I can barely get it together to read a book. let alone be bothered playing video games.

Actually, I believe this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202468)

On some FPS I just cannot hit as well when I am "down". I can "feel" something is different in term of not being able to intuitively lead the target, that is I just can't "see" the shot.

Re:Actually, I believe this. (1)

W33B (901545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205708)

be the bullet, grasshopper

My thoughts on depression vs spatial memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202522)

[ Posting anonymous for somewhat obvious reasons. ]

I lived with clinical depression from middle school through the first half of college. There was a slight seasonal component to my depression, but it never really went away until I finally got professional help.

All my life I've consistently scored in the top 1/2 of 1% for general intelligence. And in fact, I took a standardized test that places me in the top 1/4 of 1% for spatial reasoning during the time when my depression was near its worst: just a few months before I got help.

My personality type is fairly introspective, and I dealt with depression by sleeping 12+ hours/day. I lucidly dreamed of how I wished things would be, and that involved a lot of simulated interaction with the real world. Instead of just *poofing* to a given location, I would imagine flying there. Sometimes my viewpoint was from street level, but other times it was from above the highest rooftops.

In my opinion, any reduction in spatial memory due to depression would have to be caused by lack of observation, or rather a lack of desire to observe the surroundings. But we don't need studies to tell us that depressed people are less observant. I know from experience that when I was most depressed I would stare into space, ignoring everyone and everything I passed. I even stopped being able to recall lectures from memory because I wasn't paying attention. So I suspect that I actually created my mental maps when the depression was not as bad and/or that that I compiled the maps over time from incomplete sets of observations. In other words, I probably was not forming any new spatial memories during the worst of my depression, but my depression did not significantly impair my existing memory.

A decade has passed since all of this took place, but I can still give you fairly accurate 3-D sketches from any viewpoint around any of the school campuses I attended during my depression. This tells me that my depression also didn't cause any long term damage to my existing spatial memory.

My conclusion is that the only affect depression seems to have had on my spatial memory had to have been caused by lack of desire to observe things. But then again, that's basically one of the most obvious symptoms of depression so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

p.s. If you're currently depressed, don't be too proud to get help.

Yes Dr. and the Sky is blue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18202698)

So umm , ya know, at least here the reel world- "depression"- is umm how should I say this- well it's a fairly constant state of being. Why could that be? Well let's see- At least in this countery- lots of things add up to a terrible state of life. At least 5 of whom could be readily solved. No one elected wants to though.


but the wiley merchat man doesn't bother to hide where he gets his pelt,
he says, and charges for that twice fold-


The debasing form of wich is numbered not is a imp of the perverse, a shadow of it self

It's at this most base that the sheer futility of hiding it's name will be known: Greed-greed to the excess


And yet a wise and prudent merchant will hunt down greed like a tiger might-

My experiences with depression. (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202778)

I actually came to this conclusion the other day, after performing exceptionally poorly at Day of Defeat. I realized that this was a pattern with me - that when I'm depressed, I just don't do as well. And I also realized why. I wasn't concentrating on the game. I was instead thinking about the things that were making me depressed in the first place. Stress at home, stress from work, feelings of helplessness, all that stuff. The internal running commentary that says "you suck, you wanker" that gets turned on when I'm down. Of course, that didn't help my score any, which of course, fed Mr. Critic even further.

Concentrating harder on the game and blocking out Mr. Critic helped both my score and my mood however.

More likely (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18202964)

Being depressed, and discouraged, they didn't give a fuck about playing well.

Hippocampal-related? (1)

mahniart (909168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203044)

The abstract says that the task was a hippocampal-related spacial memory task (since it had a delay between initial learning and recall). Does the full article rule out a prefrontal cortex impairment that has an impact on tasks that involve executive control? Was some form of imaging used (such as fMRI) to help localize the deficit rather than basing it on the nature of the task? (I don't have access to the full article)

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203928)

Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game

I have found that depressed people perform poorly, period.

You went to those brain butchers?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18204096)

A friend of mine tried it, nearly got himself lobotomized. Don't fuck with your brain. It ain't worth it!

Study this science guys (1)

W33B (901545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205740)

FROM TFA: "Other studies showed that depressed people have memory problems"

or in my case:
play FPS games
have a terrible memory
result:
girlfriend depressed

Now study that science guys!

or.. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205886)

Maybe they just didn't feel like playing video games?

The more logical answer... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205904)

>Researchers have found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared,
>suggesting that their hippocampi (where spatial memory is based) were not working properly."

I think it suggests they were so depressed they didn't give a shit about playing the game. :)

Steve

I'm not sure this was valuable research. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207670)

I just don't buy that being depressed makes you any less spacially inclined. I've had depression for decades and it hasn't once affected my ability to remember/recall directions, or play videogames. The only difference in playing a game is that when I'm depressed I have lower failure tolerance, where on a good day I could fail a thousand times before getting too frustrated to continue. However, switch to a game that is less competetive/difficult/whatever but have simple goals that can be somewhat easily achieved and is enjoyable, and I'll be just fine. I just don't see much value in this study.

NIMH you say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207790)

"Results were published by NIMH researcher Neda Gould and colleagues in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry." ...NIMH you say.
Sounds really familiar to that lab that made rats talk and stuff in that book that was later poorly animated.
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