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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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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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