Drexel Team Developing Brain-Training Game to Promote Healthy Eating
Just in time for the holidays, researchers at Drexel’s Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change are testing a computer game for training healthier eating habits. DietDASH, the new game developed by the Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change team, in conjunction with the Digital Media Department at the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, is designed to help you say “no” to tempting sweet treats and reach for healthier options instead.
Eating a diet high in sugar has been shown to lead to weight gain and a number of related health consequences, including type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Many people are aware that they eat an unhealthy amount of sweets and have formed an intention or resolution to cut down. However, we know that successfully cutting back on sugars is extremely difficult.
The human mind has evolved to strongly crave sugar to the extent that many scientists regard it as a universal addiction. The part of the mind that attempts to say “no” to sweet foods, called “inhibitory control,” is often no match for our powerful cravings. The new study, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute, is the first to test whether a computer training game can strengthen inhibitory control, reduce the consumption of sugary foods and help people lose weight.
The beta version of the training game was recently completed, and the team is looking for volunteers to evaluate the game. Participants will play the computer game for 10 consecutive days for 10 minutes per day at home, as well as complete 8 days of dietary tracking. If you are between 18 and 50 years old, are overweight, eat sweets regularly, and would like to be a volunteer, contact Project Coordinator Cara Dochat at ProjectDASH@drexel.edu or 215.553.7114. Participants will be paid $50 upon successful completion of the pilot study.