researchers at John Hopkins University are working hard to help
bad memories, a team of scientists at Oxford University have
discovered how to use
video games to
reduce traumautic flashbacks.
Researchers have found that
the video game Tetris has the ability to reduce
flashbacks after viewing traumatic images. Other games used
do not have the same impact, in fact some
games worsen the effect.The researchers compared the
effectiveness of Tetris at reducing flashbacks with Pub Quiz Machine
2008, a word-based quiz game. They found that playing Tetris reduced
flashbacks while Pub Quiz increased them.In the first of two
experiments, researchers had healthy adults watch a film containing
traumatic content. Thirty minutes after the film, 20 volunteers
played Tetris for 10 minutes, 20 played Pub Quiz and 20 were
instructed to just do nothing.
researchers found that people in the Tetris group reported fewer
flashbacks of images from the film than people in the Pub Quiz and
those who did nothing.
study's second experiment was extended to four hours, with 25
volunteers in each group. Again, Tetris players experienced
significantly fewer flashbacks.
latest findings suggest Tetris is still effective as long as it is
played within a critical six-hour window after viewing a stressful
film," said Dr Emily Holmes of Oxford University's Department of
Psychiatry. "While playing Tetris can reduce flashback-type
memories without wiping out the ability to make sense of the event,
we have shown that not all computer games have this beneficial effect
– some may even have a detrimental effect on how people deal with
researchers suggest that a cognitive vaccine treatment could be
developed to help reduce
flashbacks experienced in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
this work is still experimental, and any potential treatment is a
long way off, we are beginning to understand how intrusive
memories/flashbacks are formed after trauma, and how we can use
science to explore new preventative treatments," said Dr.
report of the research published in this week's edition of the
journal PLoS ONE can be found here.