Casual games like Peggle and Bejeweled help ease the symptoms of clinical depression, according to a new study.
The survey, conducted by East Carolina University and underwritten by PopCap Games, followed 59 patients suffering from depression for a month. Some of them played PopCap titles Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures for a set amount of time each day, while a 'control' group surfed the National Institute of Mental Health's Web page on depression.
After the study was finished, the test subjects who played games saw symptoms reduce by 57 per cent on average.
The professor in charge of the study, Dr. Carmen Russoniello, noted that subjects suffered no negative side-effects and went on to recommend that the games be prescribed by doctors.
"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression," Russoniello explained.
"Given that only 25 per cent of people who suffer from depression are receiving treatment, it seems prudent to make these low cost, readily accessible casual games video games available to those who need them.
"They should be made available at health clinics, community centers, online 'medical sites' and given out by therapists as a means of intervention."