Print 32 comment(s) - last by Moritz.. on Jan 7 at 7:11 PM

Patients who suffer from chronic pain may reach for the mouse and keyboard instead of the medicine cabinet

Even though researchers have increased focus on video games for a variety of research projects, very few of the endeavors have yielded astonishing results.

A researcher working at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada claims playing video games could be more effective than using certain drugs when treating chronic pain sufferers.  During controlled experiments, professor Diane Gromala reported that participants who played virtual reality games were more comfortable than participants who on pain medication only.

"Controlling pain through computerized VR and biofeedback meditation therapies has the promise of providing successful, cost-effective alternatives to pain medications," she said in a statement.  

As founder of the university's BioMedia Lab, Gromala believes there is a "real demand" for the technology.  Gromala adds, "As Canada's baby-boomers enter old age, pain management looms as a huge public-health issue."

Patients enrolled in programs to treat chronic pain typically endure physical therapy, counseling sessions and prescription pain-killers. Often, patients reject therapy rather than risk addiction to pain medication.

This isn't the first time game technology has been included for the general health of players.  Although playing games on the Nintendo Wii doesn't technically count towards the one hour of exercise children should receive per day, the console still has become a hit in rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes.

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By xsilver on 1/2/2008 5:51:42 PM , Rating: 1
Did it really have to be computer games?
Why not run it against TV or a good book?
wont that have the same effect?

RE: Alternatives?
By lompocus on 1/2/2008 5:56:30 PM , Rating: 1
Computer games have you in the action. Besides, they're fun.

You're reading a book. "Oh, I wish I could just jump in and kill everyone". Well, you CAN, and see the outcome of it in a video game.

RE: Alternatives?
By xsilver on 1/2/2008 6:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know If I'd want to jump in and kill everyone when im reading the cat in the hat ;)

However I have wanted to jump in an kill everyone in many "need for speed" games (because they are so crap)
but guess what? you cant! You can only do what the game designers have let you do; much like a hamster and a wheel.

I was just making the point that there are other activities which can have just as good an effect no?

RE: Alternatives?
By amanojaku on 1/2/2008 8:31:25 PM , Rating: 5
I dont know If I'd want to jump in and kill everyone when im reading the cat in the hat ;)

I don't know... Thing 1 and Thing 2 are kind of asking for it...

RE: Alternatives?
By 5c8wc4 on 1/2/2008 6:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
Not only do you use your mind but your partially use your body in a eye hand cordination. Nevertheless watching a good movie could have a similar effect though too a slightly lesser extent.

RE: Alternatives?
By Wagnbat on 1/2/2008 7:10:23 PM , Rating: 4
Did it really have to be computer games?
Why not run it against TV or a good book?
wont that have the same effect?

No, I don't think it has to be... Not if you have a good imagination. But there-in lies the difference. While you could easily get lost in a good book, could you do so while your body was in pain or otherwise under duress?

Video games nowadays are very stim ulating (as can be TV or a good book) as well as sim ulating... Creating content for you to immerse yourself in and not having to 'imagine' it. It is also interactive which gets you involved, and if it's a good game, could make you forget everything else during the session.

So yeah, it could be the same effect as TV or books for some... But I think overall, the benefit of computer games would be more widespread with regards to the benefits of immersion than reading or watching the boob toob.

RE: Alternatives?
By Ringold on 1/2/2008 7:34:21 PM , Rating: 4
Video games nowadays are very stim ulating

I think the Terran Marine knew all this almost a decade ago:

"Aaahh, that's the stuff! ... Jacked up and good to go!"

RE: Alternatives?
By Master Kenobi on 1/3/2008 8:13:19 AM , Rating: 3
Ah, those were the days. "Fire it up!"

RE: Alternatives?
By Polynikes on 1/3/2008 12:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
"En Taro Adun."

RE: Alternatives?
By DASQ on 1/4/2008 1:00:39 AM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "those were the days"??

I still play StarCraft on Battlenet!

RE: Alternatives?
By Moritz on 1/7/2008 7:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
"For Aiur"

RE: Alternatives?
By Cogman on 1/2/2008 7:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
While I believe the things you listed will take someones mind off the pain they are going through, they aren't as captivating as a computer game. For example, how often do you blink while reading a book or watching a tv? It is often times much more then you will blink while playing a computer game. That is because the game has your mind so wrapped up in solving the problem or task at hand that it doesn't focus on whatever else is going on around you.

I was just playing a game and after I got do with it I though "My butt is sore" I can completly believe that the game took my mind off of the pain enough that I didn't even really realize it was there.

The downside to all this is the fact that games are addicting (just like drugs) and while the effects aren't as detrimental IMO they are there. Putting off important tasks, loosing touch with those around you (have you ever had to "Snap out of it"?) all happen while playing games.

RE: Alternatives?
By xsilver on 1/2/2008 8:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
Im not sure I totally agree;
I think its all a matter of opinion.

I have on numerous times started reading a good book only to find that when I feel like I should stop reading its already 4am. (eg. I totally lost track of time)
That has never happened to me with a computer game.
I have played computer games however until I KNOW its 4am but still kept playing.

RE: Alternatives?
By omnicronx on 1/3/2008 9:56:21 AM , Rating: 2
Computer/Video games give you an endorphin rush, essentially giving you a natural high. It's why you get that adrenaline rush feeling after you play for a few hours, especially if it is a good game ;)

I have also seen studies like this one oulined on wiki.
'A study in 2004 by Georgia Tech found that runner's high might be caused by the release of another naturally produced chemical, the endocannabinoid anandamide. Anandamide is similar to the active chemical, THC, found in marijuana'

...I guess thats why I like mixing the two sooo soo much ;)

RE: Alternatives?
By Fusible on 1/3/2008 12:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well here is the deal. Video games make you think about your next move. While books your not expected to make decisions and interact with it. Video games involve making decisions that will result in the outcome there after. If you mess up you get another chance to approach the situation differently. There's constant change in brain activity while playing video games. Which will probably excite and cause the brain to release endorphines from the stimulation it is receiving. Similar to the way an athlete has to think about his next move. It all involves how your brain is stimulated. But there are those who just cant pick up a controller and play video games. What do you do about these individuals?

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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