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To treat depression, we will likely combine neuroplasticity-based brain training games with antidepressants

BrainTrainingCom­put­er Games Bet­ter Than Med­ica­tion in Treat­ing Elder­ly Depres­sion (Live Sci­ence):

Com­put­er games could help in treat­ing old­er peo­ple with depres­sion who haven’t been helped by anti­de­pres­sant drugs or oth­er treat­ments for the disorder…In a study of 11 old­er patients, researchers found play­ing cer­tain com­put­er games was just as effec­tive at reduc­ing symp­toms of depres­sion as the “gold stan­dard” anti­de­pres­sant drug esc­i­talo­pram. More­over, those patients play­ing the com­put­er games achieved results in just four weeks, com­pared to the 12 weeks it often takes with esc­i­talo­pram (also known by its brand name, Lexapro)…

Anti­de­pres­sant drugs have side effects that may make peo­ple wary of tak­ing them, but not treat­ing the ill­ness can have even more seri­ous con­se­quences, Mori­mo­to said…

The researchers not­ed this was a very small pre­lim­i­nary study, and they want to con­duct a ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al, Mori­mo­to said. This com­put­er ther­a­py could be used by itself or in con­junc­tion with anti­de­pres­sant drugs, Mori­mo­to said.”

Study: Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion for treat­ment-resis­tant geri­atric depres­sion (Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions)

  • Abstract: Exec­u­tive dys­func­tion (ED) in geri­atric depres­sion (GD) is com­mon, pre­dicts poor clin­i­cal out­comes and often per­sists despite remis­sion of symp­toms. Here we devel­op a neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion-geri­atric depres­sion treat­ment to tar­get ED in GD. Our assump­tion is that reme­di­a­tion of these deficits may mod­u­late the under­ly­ing brain net­work abnor­mal­i­ties shared by ED and depres­sion. We com­pare the inter­ven­tion to a gold-stan­dard treat­ment (?esc­i­talo­pram: 20?mg per 12 weeks) in 11 treat­ment-resis­tant old­er adults with major depres­sion; and 33 matched his­tor­i­cal con­trols. We find that 91% of par­tic­i­pants com­plete the inter­ven­tion, which is equal­ly as effec­tive at reduc­ing depres­sive symp­toms as ?esc­i­talo­pram but does so in 4 weeks instead of 12. In addi­tion, the inter­ven­tion improves mea­sures of exec­u­tive func­tion more than the ?esc­i­talo­pram. We con­clude that this neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based com­put­er­ized treat­ment may be equal­ly effec­tive as ?esc­i­talo­pram in treat­ing GD. In addi­tion, par­tic­i­pants showed greater improve­ment in exec­u­tive func­tions than his­tor­i­cal con­trols treat­ed with ?esc­i­talo­pram.

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