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Video games make potent pain killers

A study says that playing video games helps to distract children suffering from chronic pain.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 14:40 IST

A new study by undergraduate students at the Wheeling Jesuit University has found playing sports and fighting video games helps to distract children and young adults suffering from chronic pain.

Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, Director of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University said that the students had found that these gaming distractions may be most helpful in children and young adults undergoing painful procedures or suffering from chronic pain.

“Our students found that these gaming distractions may be most helpful in children and young adults undergoing painful procedures or suffering from chronic pain, as these individuals comprise the largest gamer demographics,” he said.

As a part of the study, physiological measures such as pulse, blood pressures, oxygen saturation were monitored. Participants completed a 5-min practice period, and then played the specific game for 10-min. They were then subjected to a cold pressor test.

Pain ratings were made on a scale from 0-10 every 30-sec to a maximum of 5-min. Additional questionnaires measured aggressiveness, competitiveness, video game playing habits, mood, and workload.

The researchers found out of six types of video game types (action, puzzle, arcade, fighting, sport, and boxing, participants in the sports and fighting game conditions were able to tolerate pain for a longer period when compared to the other game types and the baseline control.

“There are implications here for children, adolescents, and young adults, all of whom are the primary users of such video games. Physicians could possible implement this in their office to aid in distraction during a painful procedure such as injection or dental work,” Dr Raudenbush added.

First Published: Mar 30, 2006 14:40 IST