Whereas most conditions can be detected and quantified relatively easily, depression is much harder to diagnose and assess. As the disease has been linked to an area of the brain that plays a role in spatial memory, neurologists have envisaged the use of a popular video game similar to Duke Nukem to test this type of memory and determine the presence and severity of the illness.

A group of subjects were asked to navigate through a virtual town and find their way to as many landmarks as possible within a pre-set amount of time. Those suffering from depression were able to find only an average of 2.4 locations, as opposed to healthy controls who arrived at 3.8 landmarks in the same time. A correlation was also established between the score and the intensity of the depression.

This test will hopefully provide a quantifiable measure of depression in the future.

Source: The American Journal Of Psychiatry (Abstract only)

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