Tuesday November 19, 2019

Digital Games may Improve Mental Health, boost their Academics in Refugee Kids in War-Torn Regions

The study participants included 147 Syrian refugee children, aged 9 to 14

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Refugee Kids
Refugee Kids: Children, who fled fighting in South Sudan, stand inside a tented classroom at the Bidi Bidi refugee resettlement camp near the border with South Sudan, in northern Uganda, Dec. 7, 2016. VOA
  • The study participants included 147 Syrian refugee children, aged 9 to 14
  • Digital games may help boost their academics as well as improve their mental health
  • Play based intervention was not only effective but also one in which the children were engaged and wanted to continue doing

New York, June 7, 2017: Providing technological interventions such as digital games to children living as refugees in warn-torn regions may help boost their academics as well as improve their mental health, a research has found.

Refugee children often do not enroll in the education system partly because of language barriers, and they often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

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The findings showed that digital games can effectively teach refugee children much-needed skills including a new language, cognitive skills, while also improving their mental health.

“The study shows that even with limited resources, and language barriers, we can make a difference in the lives of children through leveraging technology,” said Selcuk Sirin, Professor at the New York University.

The games also improved children’s executive functions and cognitive skills such as their ability to plan, monitor, and alter behaviours.

In addition, the intervention significantly lowered children’s sense of hopelessness and despair.

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The study participants included 147 Syrian refugee children, aged 9 to 14.

Play based intervention was not only effective but also one in which the children were engaged and wanted to continue doing, the researchers suggested, while presenting the paper at the BAU International University in Washington, DC.

“Our pilot study shows that using game-based learning is an effective, cost-efficient way to teach refugee children important skills and this structured environment provided distressed refugee children an outlet to imagine a better future for themselves,” explained Sinem Vatanartiran, president of BAU International University. (IANS)

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Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

The study focused specifically on an area of the brain that is responsible for visual attention

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Illness
This research finding is major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of Illness may reduce alertness. Pixabay

Scientists have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness or mental fatigue that often accompanies Illness.

A team at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Human Brain Health investigated the link between the mental fog and inflammation — the body’s response to illness.

In a study published in Neuroimage, the team in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam showed that inflammation appears to have a particular negative impact on the brain’s readiness to reach and maintain an alert state.

Scientists have long suspected a link between inflammation and cognition, but it is very difficult to be clear about the cause and effect.

“For example, people living with a medical condition or being very overweight might complain of cognitive impairment, but it’s hard to tell if that’s due to the inflammation associated with these conditions or if there are other reasons,” said senior study author Dr Ali Mazaheri from University of Birmingham.

The study focused specifically on an area of the brain that is responsible for visual attention.

A group of 20 young male volunteers took part and received a salmonella typhoid vaccine that causes temporary inflammation but has few other side effects.

Brain activity was measured while they performed the attention tests.

On a different day, either before or after, they received an injection with water (a placebo) and did the same attention tests.

Illness
Scientists have uncovered a possible explanation for the mental sluggishness or mental fatigue that often accompanies Illness. Pixabay

On each test day, they were unaware of which injection they had received.

The results showed that inflammation specifically affected brain activity related to staying alert, while the other attention processes appeared unaffected by inflammation.

“This research finding is major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of illnesses may reduce alertness,” noted Professor Jane Raymond.

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The next step for the team will be to test the effects of inflammation on other areas of brain function such as memory. (IANS)