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Video game therapy could treat COVID-induced ‘brain fog’, scientists suggest


Scientists are planning to conduct clinical trials to determine if video game therapy could help adults suffering from COVID-related “brain fog”. Video game-based therapy has also received regulatory clearance for ADHD treatment in the past. A report by Independent states that over the course of the pandemic, a subgroup of those who recover from brain fog have residual cognitive and daily functioning difficulties.

The clinical trials being conducted by the Weill Cornell Medicine scientists along with those from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US is aiming to understand the effectiveness of a video game called AKL-T01 on patients who have recovered from a COVID infection.

The trial is set to include about 100 patients who are above the age of 18, who have also shown cognitive impairment in at least one measure of attention and executive function during screenings. Stat News has reported that while half of these patients will receive treatment, another half will serve as a control group.

The participants are set to complete five missions a day, five times a week. This includes about 25 minutes of indulging in the game each day. The study is set to go on for six weeks along with four weeks of post-treatment follow up.

COVID infections and cognitive impairment

When it comes to a link between coronavirus infection and cognitive impairment in patients, there has been no clear evidence of a correlation between the two yet. However, a number of studies have reported that deficits in attention and learning skills among recovered individuals continue to impact their quality of life even after overcoming COVID-related symptoms.

A study that collected inputs from 2,36,000 COVID patients, published in The Lancet Psychiatry showed that one in three patients experienced mental health or neurological disorder. These included dementia, stroke, and brain haemorrhage within six months of infection.

Another research conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine in the US noted that in a cohort of 57 patients who were in rehab following hospitalisation for COVID infections, 81 per cent of patients had some form of cognitive impairment. Further, 55 per cent face deficits in working memory and 46 per cent reported experiencing divided attention.



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