“A New Way to Treat Depression: Games” – We’re in the Wall Street Journal!

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After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder last September, Reva Wood struggled with chronic pain, and then anxiety stemming from chronic pain. To reduce her anxiety, she decided to try something a little unusual: a video game called SuperBetter that claimed to use science-based challenges to help her manage anxiety.

Digital games are gaining notice from some researchers who think they’re a novel way to address mental health issues like depression and anxiety. SuperBetter is currently the subject of two scientific trials, including a National Institutes of Health-funded experiment that will begin this summer.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.

Happy three year anniversary, SuperBetter! (and here’s what’s next…)

We’re thrilled that three years after launching our first prototype, SuperBetter has helped nearly half a million players — and the game remains 100% free online.

If you’re playing SuperBetter online, hopefully you’ve noticed that we’ve celebrated our anniversary by polishing up the website and making some improvements! You’ll notice a smoother experience everywhere from your To Do list to your Allies dashboard.

We’re also just a few weeks away from an iOS update and our first ever Android app.

Although we’re not a full-time team working on the product anymore, we love SuperBetter, and we’ve seen it change countless lives. That’s why we continue to support it — with help from a clinical trial research grant from the NIH, so we can continue to work with scientists and health care practitioners to bring SuperBetter to as many people as possible.

So keep activating those power-ups and battling those bad guys! After all, it looks like there’s an epic win in your future…

Super-calories! New research helps you get SuperBetter at losing weight

Here at SuperBetter, we work with scientists, doctors and researchers to make sure that our Power Packs are chock full of the latest breakthrough findings. Our biggest, most awesome Power Pack so far is our Full Plate Diet power pack, designed to help you get SuperBetter at losing weight.

The Full Plate Diet is a diet with a twist — according to the research, most people have to eat MORE in order to lose weight. Download the power pack and give it a play if you’re curious to find out how it works! Or, watch this video:

Introduction to the Full Plate Diet’s SuperBetter Power Pack from SuperBetter on Vimeo.

Well, this week the New York Times reported on new research that adds further support to the Full Plate Diet’s counter-intuitive methodology. The highlight of the research: You can eat more calories and lose weight, IF the calories you’re adding are fiber calories. That’s because the body doesn’t actually fully digest fiber, so you’re not actually absorbing all of the calories.

We love to see new research validate the great science we’re already working with… it helps us create even more quests for you to reach your epic win.

New research: fMRIs show how games can make you SuperBetter!

Huge news from the world of health games research!

Earlier this week, game developer HopeLab (creators of the cancer-fighting game Re:Mission, which has been clinically proven to improve patient outcomes) and Stanford researchers published new data that sheds light on how game play can inspire healthy behavior.

HopeLab has previously published research showing that players of the Re:Mission game significantly changed their real-world behaviors (more likely to take medications on schedule, more likely to complete chemotherapy) and their outlook (more confidence in their ability to take actions to beat cancer). But they wanted to know: What EXACTLY is it about the game that creates this powerful link between virtual interaction and real-world thought and action?

Enter the new study, which you can read for yourself here: “Interactivity and Reward-Related Neural Activation during a Serious Videogame”.

This new research maps brain function during game play (check out the fMRI images above!). The results indicate that the interactive nature of video games is the critical ingredient — particularly how gaming supercharges motivation, positive emotion, and “self-efficacy”, or our belief that we can positively influence the outcome of events with our own actions.

We’re excited by this research at SuperBetter, because one of our main hypotheses about why SuperBetter works has to do with the long-term effects of positive emotion. Our design is also focused on increasing self-efficacy.

You’ll find more pics, video and inside scoop on the data at Hope Lab’s blog. Take a look!