From my own personal experience I can testify to the health benefits of video games, albeit that most of the health stuff was all to do with the mind and the soul rather than anything physical. The ability to go online and destroy, kill and maim, I must admit went a long way in calming me down by diverting the energy somewhere else. A driving game, helped me overcome my paranoia of big trucks tailgating me. Video games or rather the ability to immerse and distract my mind enabled me to escape for a while. Some of the early Kinnect games helped me to keep motivated and exercise whilst doing rehabilitation. None of these video games were medically officially sanctioned, but I do know how much they helped me.
This got me thinking back then about the many possible applications that computer games could be applied to. With the readily available AR and VR systems, there is an even larger scope of possibilities that can now extend to the physical health benefits.
I would like to talk about two cases where I have seen game tech being applied to help with a medical issue. The first…..
According to The Atlantic Tetris is increasingly being used as a research tool in mental health. Studies have found that Tetris is useful in blocking painful memories and helping those suffering from PTSD. Other benefits may include benefits in a persons cognitive development area of the brain as well as helping people overcome addictions and cravings.
The respected scientific journal and publication Science Daily published the results of a study conducted in September 2009 by BioMed Central Limited in New Mexico, USA. They got 26 girl participants to play Tetris for 30 minutes a day, every day for 3 months. Before the study commenced and after it ended, each participant underwent MRI scans focusing on the brain. After the study was concluded it was found that playing Tetris leads to a thicker cortex and may also increase brain efficiency.
**BioMed Central Limited. (2009, September 1). Is Tetris Good For The Brain?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 11, 2017 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901082851.htm
The Scientific American publication reported on research presented at the British Psychology Society Annual Conference in April 2012.
“Researchers are now corroborating what some trauma sufferers have happened upon by chance: Focusing on a highly engaging visual-spatial task, such as playing video games, may significantly reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, the mental images concerning the trauma that intrude on the sufferer afterward.
Flashbacks are considered by some to be the central hub of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers Lalitha Iyadurai and Ella James of Oxford University explained to LiveScience. They are invasive, unpredictable distress signals that can make everyday activities difficult. The jarring mental images also may trigger or exacerbate other symptoms associated with PTSD, including irritability, anger, poor concentration and sleep disorders. [Top 10 Spooky Sleep Disorders]
Reducing the occurrence of flashbacks is therefore likely to relieve post-traumatic suffering while leaving the actual memories of the trauma in place, they said.
Iyadurai stressed the new research does not suggest a video game can instantly cure PTSD, but that it does suggests alternative treatments for the symptoms.”
The study hypothesis was that the Tetris game had a protective effect in which the visual-spatial gameplay of Tetris disrupts the formation of the mental imagery involved in flashbacks. If the game was played immediately after a traumatic event, the player was less likely to suffer from any flashbacks and recovered a lot sooner than participants who did not play the game.
My next example is more to do with a physical affliction and it first caught my eye a couple of months ago on You Tube.
It is a form of AR tech, adapted and improved to bring relief from the medical condition known as Stargardt’s disease or fundus flavimaculatus. It is characterised by early age loss of central vision where the photosensitive cells of the retina deteriorates, especially in the macula. The macula is responsible for the sharp and main central vision.
With Stargardt’s disease the central vision is impaired whilst the pheriperal vision remains intact.
This can lead to further detoriation of the eyes and consequent blindness.
The use of glasses has been the main focus on alleviating this affliction and whilst in the past the glasses have mainly consisted of mirrored and angled panels reflecting the central view tot he peripheral view, they have proved fragile and expensive.
Enter AR tech and combine the two and a practical, affordable and sturdier system has been created.
Through the use of cameras that point forward, they capture what is in front of them and transmit them to screens situated at the peripheral areas of the wearers eyes.
So there you have it, just two examples of where video game and video game tech can have health benefits. This gives me much hope as the possibilities where we can apply games and gaming tech to other areas in our lives is potentially endless. I have many ideas of where and how I want to apply the tech and games to possible improve, assist and enable people.
That is all for now, thank you for your company and till next time.
God’s blessings upon you.