Duke Nukem used to help diagnose depression

US National Institute of Mental Health finds an interesting role for 3D Realms' FPS hero

Wise-cracking, muscle-bound FPS star DukeNukem is being used to help diagnose depression.

New Scientist has reported that the US National Institute of Mental Health has developed a videogame featuring scenes from Duke Nukem to test spatial memory.

Apparently, spatial memory is affected by the brain's hippocampus, with a shrunken hippocampus linked to depression.

Test cases were required to make their way to a number of locations within the "game" in an allotted amount of time. Measured against a non-depressed score of 3.8, depression sufferers on average scored 2.4. Which is still probably better than the score those awaiting Duke Nukem Forever would have racked up.

March 13, 2007

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