(Screengrab from www.free-play-mahjong.com)

Written by: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Video games can help seniors maintain health

SFU education and gerontology researcher David Kaufman has found that playing video games is good for the mental health of the elderly.

Kaufman’s research, which surveyed 1,200 seniors, indicates that video games slow “mental decline” and help seniors build and maintain social connections, staving off feelings of loneliness and depression. Many among the elderly are socially isolated.

Seniors who played video games with each other were found to gain more from it than seniors who played alone. As part of this analysis, Kaufman’s research team created team-based video game competitions at residential care facilities where seniors could socialize.

Different types of games bring different benefits, says Kaufman. For example, the game Angry Birds was found to help improve reaction time, while online traditional games such as Chess or Mahjong, which were the most played by seniors, brought “cognitive benefits.”

This week, Kaufman presented his work at the 2018 AGE-WELL conference, a meeting of gerontology and tech experts.

With files from CBC News.  


Forced addiction treatment for youth could actually do more harm

A new study released by Andreas Pilarinos, Perry Kendall, Danya Fast, and Kora DeBeck, researchers affiliated with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use and SFU, have found that forced treatment could make youth more likely to overdose later in life.

The report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests that such use of forceful treatment reduces the trust and connection between youth and health or social services.

According to the report, such treatment methods “did not improve outcomes for substance use” and could lead to higher rates of mental health problems, homelessness, and relapse back to substance use when the youth becomes an adult.

Instead, the paper suggests building trust with youth drug users, together with coordinated evidence-based treatment across different levels of healthcare, to treat addiction.

The report also called for an early intervention and more emotional, social, and material support for addicted youth and their families.

B.C. is considering the use of the “Secure Care Act,” which would allow youth using “high-risk” substances to be forcibly detained and treated as protection from drug-related harm.

With files from The Georgia Straight.

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