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A new and innovative computer based treatment program may be effective at decreasing the symptoms and negative thought bias associated with Major Depressive Disorder or MDD. Researchers at the Hunan Normal University determined that using the program could help reduce the depression and associated symptoms in patients who were diagnosed with MDD, especially adolescents. In the USA alone it is estimated that more than 10% of adolescents will have MDD, and this group is approximately 5 times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers who do not suffer from this type of mental illness. The researchers determined that attention bias modification or ABM can help individuals with MDD shift their thoughts and word associations from negative to neutral and then to positive.

ABM is a computer based treatment program which could help when Major Depressive Disorder is an issue. During the study the participants were divided into treatment and control groups. The control group received placebo training sessions while the other group actually received the ABM treatment program. There were 45 adolescents diagnosed with MDD who took part in the study and these teens were chosen from a school population. The placebo group also performed the same types of tasks as the treatment group but the teens in the placebo group had their attention directed to neutral and sad words equally rather than positive associations. The study data and results were published in JAACAP, the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Further studies will be needed before the data can be verified but this study shows great promise in treatment for MDD.