Video game could help COVID-19 long haulers with brain fog

Akili video game
Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 21:59:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A video game prescription could be a game-changer for COVID-19 survivors who suffer from brain fog.

A video game designed by a neuroscientist to help people with ADHD has been approved by the FDA, and it could be used in the future to help COVID-19 long haulers. Dr. Jim Jackson said, "There’s good evidence that engaging your brain on a digital platform in the context of video games may improve attention and processing speed, the areas of particular concern in covid survivors."

One of those being Simone Lazer who suffers from brain fog. "I’m not sure if the breathing, the lack of air, caused me to be able to think differently, or if it’s I don’t know, the chicken before the egg," Lazer said.

She's desperate to be rid of her long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. Lazer said, "Someone might think I’m a complete idiot when I’m just taking a bit longer right now to express myself."

That's where Dr. Jackson is trying to help. He’s the behavioral health director in the recovery ICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "The phrase is twice as hard for half as much, so what our patients will tell you, is they’re pushing hard, but despite their best efforts, they’re getting far less of a return," Jackson said.

Currently, the game called 'Akili' is being studied to see if it helps cure brain fog. Jackson said, "You’re holding an iPad you’re engaging, you’re playing the video games, it’s challenging your brain in specific ways, pushing it hard."

The digital therapy gives Simone hope. "It would be really exciting to experience that especially if it’s therapeutic," Lazer said.

As an actress and producer, she's desperate to feel better. "I’m very fortunate to work with people I’ve worked within the past, so they know I’m not a complete idiot, but there’s definitely something not connected," Lazer said.

Dr. Jackson hopes Akili will show promising results in the study, so one day it can be used to treat brain fog. The current study is full, but Dr. Jackson hopes to have a new one soon so he can enroll additional patients.