Welcome to another Jaggy’s Corner where I talk about all things pertaining to video games. And this week is an interesting topic, to say the least. Endeavor is the first video game approved by the FDA on patients with ADHD.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I first discovered the video game prescription through an article published by The Verge earlier this week.
Let’s Talk About Video Games and Health
At first, when I stumbled across this article, I was taken aback. It seemed weird to me that a video game could be medically prescribed. However, as I dove down my mental gymnastic roads, I was reminded of an event from a long time ago. Someone I knew was attending a therapy session where a game was used to test reaction time and focus. It was sorta like the old Mavis Beacon typing game where many of us learned how to touch type. (That said, the program looks drastically different from when I used it). Anyways, the person was required to press certain letters as they came down. And as I remembered this event in my history, I thought about the fact that video games COULD very much have an impact on our learning abilities. The idea isn’t new. I had just forgotten about it.
Fast forward to 2017 where a man by the name of Adam Gazzaley set out to find solutions for people suffering from different mental ailments without the use of pills. He created a game called Neuroracer which was the first rendition of a video game that could help patients with mental disorders. Adam Gazzaley went on to create Akili Interactive where he and his colleagues researched better ways of helping patients. The company updated Neuroracer to become Endeavor, which is now the topic of discussion by many gaming media sites. The reason? Endeavor is now an FDA approved prescription but, this brings up a load of follow-up questions.
Questions about Prescription Video Games
Let us begin with some of my immediate questions like:
- How much does this prescription cost?
- Is it only available in the US?
- Does the prescription purchase the game itself or just the right to buy it from a retailer?
- Will retailers be required to document ‘medical information’ that needs to be forwarded back to health care professionals?
- Is it available on multiple platforms or just tablets?
- What if the patient doesn’t have a tablet? Will that be provided?
- Will Endeavor be covered by insurance?
- Can a person buy this game without a prescription?
- What if the game is pirated?
- Do other games have similar traits that can help patients?
My list isn’t exactly exhaustive, and from looking at the website, it’s hard to tell what the cost would be. Even then, I’m not sure where the game would be available or if it is digital only.
I’m also curious about the studies conducted. The statistics shown are quite low in sample size, which concerns me greatly. I mean, does this speak to the greater idea that adults still battle with the idea that video gaming can lead to careers or help their children with confidence? Maybe people are generally against the idea that video gaming can be beneficial despite the loads of evidence that supports the idea? Like the money raised for St. Jude’s, Trevor Project, Breast Cancer Research, Doctors without Borders, and other charities. I mean, there might be parents that wouldn’t like doctors to prescribe a video game, but who knows? Times are changing.
As I said, I have many questions, and while many people are in the same boat as I am, we will just have to keep an eye open on the topic. I remain positive about this idea.
Those of you that are interested in taking a look at some source material on the subject, here is a shortlist:
- The first App to be FDA approved (Not a video game)
- Neuroracer – the first instance of Endeavor
- Medium Article about Video Games Used to Treat Patients
- Akili Interactive Website
- Clinical Trials Website
- FDA Approval Article
- Articles from The Verge, CNN Health, and Wired from this week
Final Thoughts on Endeavor
I feel like this is only the beginning. While medication can certainly help a lot of ailments of the body and the mind, I believe that video games can do more than just entertain people. We live in a digital age where almost everyone is using the internet. Plus, anyone that has a phone likely plays some form of video game as an escape from life. So, we’ll see what happens with Endeavor.
Overall, I’m glad that the FDA has approved another treatment option for ADHD because I think alternative methods of helping people can be valuable – and with less side effects! Though, I hope some of the questions listed above are answered.
I don’t know about our readers but I will be keeping an eye out. That said, I’d love to start a dialogue about this topic. What do you think about being prescribed a video game? Let me know on social media or in the comments below!
Until next time peeps!