Gaming that Reinforces Positive Attitudes on Cancer Therapy
Scientific research shows that specially designed games can improve cancer treatment adherence and boost self-efficacy. Onset of interactive game play robustly activated mesolimbic projection regions including the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens, as well as a subregion of the parahippocampal gyrus. During interactive gameplay, subjects showed extended activation of the thalamus, anterior insula, putamen, and motor-related regions, accompanied by decreased activation in parietal and medial prefrontal cortex. Offset of interactive gameplay activated the anterior insula and anterior cingulate. Between-group comparisons of within-subject contrasts confirmed that mesolimbic activation was significantly more pronounced in the active playgroup than in the passive exposure control group. Individual difference analyses also found the magnitude of parahippocampal activation following gameplay onset to correlate with positive attitudes toward chemotherapy assessed both at the end of the scanning session and at an unannounced one-month follow-up. These findings suggest that IDG-induced activation of reward-related mesolimbic neural circuits stems primarily from participatory engagement in gameplay (interactivity), rather than from the effects of vivid and dynamic sensory stimulation.
Re-Mission 2 from the MIT HopeLab is a collection of online games and apps that are designed to help young people with cancer to fight their disease. Each game puts players inside the human body to defeat cancer, using weapons like chemotherapy, antibiotics and the body’s natural defences. The games are designed to motivate players to stick to their treatments by boosting self-efficacy and positive emotions and by shifting attitudes about chemotherapy. Re-Mission 2 has evolved from the original Re-Mission games, which saw significant outcomes for young patients both in continuing their treatments and in increasing their knowledge of cancer-related topics. In 2014, Re-Mission 2: Nanobot’s Revenge, a mobile app for iOS and Android, won a prestigious Parents’ Choice Gold Award and a Common Sense Media Award, receiving the highest rating for learning potential and engagement.
Interactivity and Reward-Related Neural Activation during a Serious Videogame- https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0033909
CancerFacts and Figures- https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2019.html#:~:text=Estimated%20numbers%20of%20new%20cancer,deaths%20in%20the%20United%20States.)
Sierra Briscoe - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sierrabriscoe/