Guest post by Luke Cochran
Edit and Post design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by superanton via Pixabay CC made using @WordSwagApp
Sitting deep in a closet under my basement stairs lies my PlayStation 3. For years, it has been sitting there unused, dormant. However, a recent study has motivated me to dig it out of its tomb and donate it to help those in need.
In a 2012 study by The University of Utah, video games had a positive impact on children diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Much of the impact came from the mental stimulation users experience when gaming.
The study outlines how the patients interacted with games designed for therapeutic use. The University News Center describes how, "their own Patient Empowerment Exercise Video Game (PE Game), an activity-promoting game specifically designed to improve resilience, empowerment, and a “fighting spirit” for pediatric oncology patients." The study also included other games noted for their therapeutic use with chronic illness. Click here to see a preview of some of the games used in the study.
The video games used were also renowned for their promotion of "positive attitude and empowerment" - feelings that the study suggests stem from a games ability to "activate positive emotions and reward systems." This helped strengthen a "fighting spirit" for the patients, trickling down to other health related benefits.
Playing a Role in the Future of Medicine
Roger Altizer, a professor at the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts and director of game design and production for the program, pointed towards the role the games can play in the future of personalized medicine. He spoke on how these games can motivate people in very individual ways because of how engaging and immersive the experience can be.
With this news comes not only reassurance that my countless hours on PlayStation 3 were of some benefit, but there is now so much possibility ahead for those children diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Just as people learn in different ways, so do patients when responding to different forms of treatment. While it will be a challenge to develop games tailored for therapeutic development, it should be in no comparison to the benefits it can provide so many people.
Therefore, instead of letting my PlayStation 3 collect dust, I think I'll put it to good use. Sending it to an organization like GameCrate (www.GameCrate.us) will make sure my games are reaching their full potential.
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