Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Video Games Helped 68 Kids Through Cancer

In other video game health news, a recent study published by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has concluded that video games can help improve mental health in cancer survivors. Studying 68 patients who were cancer free for one year or more, between the ages of 8 and 16, found that they were able to obtain cognitive development on the level of some medications after 30-45 minutes of playing games.

Cancer is an ugly thing to go through, and it's become more prominent in our culture. Some of the treatments, such as chemotherapy, can have a wide array of permanent effects - such as loss of vision, deadening the nerves in your fingers and toes, and memory loss. A number of children experience mental development issues (cognitive reasoning, spacial reasoning, memory, etc.) as a result of cancer treatments. There are some medications on the market, but they're considered low priority in terms of "need" and can be insanely expensive.

Alternate treatments such as video games, could be a big boost for many families looking to help their child get back to being a kid.

The gaming sessions were not just any video games. Of course not. Hopefully these parents would be against their child playing Grand Theft Auto. While the study doesn't list which games the children played, they all handled some form of verbal and visual-spatial exercises. As children improved, they were given more difficult games that involved multi-tasking and managing. Given that the results are on par with medications, this opens up a brand new world of therapy for cancer survivors.

"While medication and therapist-led interventions have shown some benefit for select survivors, online training marks a significant advance by giving survivors convenient access to an effective intervention.”

Researchers are now looking into starting these training programs during cancer treatment to help stem the potential for memory loss. They are also looking at the long-term effects of these training sessions. While they can't guarantee that your child will do better in math and reading, it has been a noticeable boost to the kids in this study.

Yea science and video games!


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