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November 24, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 1

Zachary Pinz Health Section B4 Highlights:

The Affect of Video Games on Health

> Violent Games > Video Games and Vision

The Risks and Benefits to Gaming Since games like Pac Man games have evolved and become more violent. About 89% of games contain some amount of violence.6 Violent games can: increase aggressive behavior, emotions, and thoughts; create psychological arousal (fight or flight response,) and reduces helpful behavior.6

Halo, an example of a violent video game.

These games also can change the way people think: after playing violent games, one group in a study were more likely to use alcohol and marijuana, be competitive in another task, and accuse others of cheating in that other task.6 Some role-playing games can become a substitute for real life for some players. Continuously playing a game has led to problems in school, obesity, sleep problems, and memory problems. Cheating also can be a problem for some players.6 Players who play a game constantly have similar symptoms to people with drug addictions and can suffer from withdrawal. They also use games as a way to escape,

> Video Games and much like substance abusers.6 RSI, repetitive stress injury, due to repetitive movement is common for players of video games. Besides being fun, video games can: improve handeye coordination, improve eyesight, some games include physical activity, they create social interaction and self-esteem, and some games can be used for educational purposes.6

brother got up and started kicking him and yelling insults! Later on that day, the younger brother was playing another video game by himself and when he could not beat the level, he threw down the controller and screamed at the TV screen, "Why are you doing this to me...?!" and burst into tears. (Kardaras, Eleni)2 Along with frustration and addiction, a professor at

> Health Risks > Aggression


Video Games, Aggression, and the Brain Research suggests that video games are leading to aggression among people. In a research study two brothers were playing a video game together. They were playing the video game "Mario Cart," which is really not a very violent game; the object is to win a car race by coming in first while maneuvering through different courses. When the younger brother won, the older


Tokyo's Nihon University, Akio Mori, did a study and found out that the more a person plays video games the less they use the frontal regions of their brain. (Kardaras, Eleni)2 This shows two important things: the decrease of usage of the frontal regions of the brain while playing can lead to aggression, (cont. on page 2)

Video Games, Aggression, and the Brain


Risks for Playing Video Games in


Video Game Killing 2 can Boost Visual Video Games are 3 Changing the Way Patients Heal Mental Health Benefits of Video




Further Reading


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The Affect of Video Games on Health

Video Games, Aggression, and the Brain. (cont. from page and the decrease of frontal brain usage after the game is turned off creates a lasting effect. Does the brain perceive the games as real? Multiple studies have reported that playing video games can significantly increase heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption. If studies show that heart rate is increased when playing video games, then it seems that the brain is responding to the video game as if the body is in real danger. (Kardaras, Eleni)

Risks for Playing Video Games in Adults The average age for playing video games is 35.

Playing video games are not only a problem for children. The average age for playing video games is 35.4 In a study with 500 adults, 45.1% reported playing video games. Female video-game players reported greater depression and lower health status than female non-players. Male video-game players reported higher BMI and more Internet use time

than male non-players. The only determinant common to both female and male video-game players was greater reliance on the Internet for social support. As reported by Dr. James B. Weaver II, a higher BMI and poor mental health is in a greater number of players compared to non-players.4 There is a link between obesity and playing video games in

adults. Adults will also sacrifice real-world social interaction to play video games.4

Video Game Killing can Boost Visual Skills

Star Wars Battlefront II, a great, interactive shooting game without blood.

Violent shooting games can help visual skills. Experienced players of these games are 30 percent to 50 percent better than non-players at taking in everything that happens around them. They identify objects in their peripheral vision, perceiving numerous objects without having to count them, switch attention rapidly and track many items at once. (Blakeslee, Sandra)1

Unlike role-playing games these shooting games help to spread the brain’s attention over a wide range of events. Although not helpful in educating, there was an increased capacity for visual attention which was helpful in: driving, flying aircraft, radiology, and airport screening. (Blakeslee, Sandra)1 Gamers could localize targets in a cluttered envi-

ronment, identify up to 10 items on a screen without counting, and were able to process fast-scanning information and switch attention better than non-players. (Blakeslee, Sandra)1 Between Tetris and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, the Medal of Honor game (a shooting game) helped to increase visual attention in both sexes. (Blakeslee, Sandra)1

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Volume 1, Issue 1

How Video Games are Changing the Way Patients Heal There are many negative things about video games, but they are revolutionizing the way patients are healed at hospitals. In many hospitals today the Nintendo Wii is being used to speed recovery due to its unique physical game play.3 Stretching and moving the muscles of the patient helps them to heal faster. Since the Nintendo Wii was released in November 2006, more and more rehabilitation therapists have been using the device to help patients with injuries. Hunter will be

trying a new video game, named Guitar Hero, which uses a guitar-shape controller. Players press buttons on the guitar's neck and strum on its body to play along to songs in the game. "It might be used to regain fine motor coordination in smaller muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrist.� (Hope, Hunter)3 While the Wii is very helpful in hospitals it is also being used in school settings in gym classes because of the balance between physical activity and a video game.3

Mental Health Benefits of Video Games Video games have been shown to be very helpful in easing mental illnesses such as depression. A particular game, Bejeweled by PopCap Games, was found to improve the mood and heart rhythms of players compared to non-players.5 The idea that depression and other disorders -- as well as everyday stress and worry -- involve systematic patterns of thought and self-doubt, and that games can distract people and put them in a different mental zone. You don't have to play with a computer or an Xbox 360 to notice the effect: Anyone who has used a crossword puzzle or Sudoku game to decompress after a difficult day recognizes the idea.5 One of the breakthrough ideas in combating stress and other mental disturbances was manipulating a factor known as heart rate variability. Different emotions seem to produce heart rhythm "signatures," and several devices have been invented to measure that variability.5 Video games have not only helped with depression but also with soldiers recovering from traumatic events who were stressed in everyday situations.5

Video games help to relieve or suppress stress

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The Affect of Video Games on Health

Bibliography: 1. Blakeslee, Sandra. “Video-Game Killing Builds Visual Skills, Researchers Report. (National Desk)(research published in today's Nature journal),” New York Times, 2003, Science Resource Center, MICDS Library, St. Louis, MO, 11 November 2009, 2. Kardaras, Eleni, “The Affect of Video Games on the Brain,” Serendip, 7 January 2008, 3 November 2009, http:// 3. Klein, Andrew, “Beyond fun and games: video games are changing how hospital patients heal and teens exercise. PHYSICAL TECHNOLOGY.” Science World. 2008. Science Resource Center. MICDS Library, St. Louis, MO, 11 November 2009, http:// The following did not have any provided authors: 4. Elsevier Health Sciences. "Links Between Video-game Playing and Health Risks in Adults Found." ScienceDaily 18 August 2009, 18 November 2009, /releases/2009/08/090818083224.htm 5. “Rx. Xbox? Researchers Explore Mental Health Benefits of Video Games” The Washington Post. 18 August 2009, 22 November 2009. 6. “Video Games,” Teen Health; Child and Youth Health, 19 February 2009, 3 November 2009, HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=295&id=2375

Photos: Halo screenshot (front page): Boys at an arcade (page 2): Star Wars Battlefront II screenshot (page 2): screenshots/gameShotId,151874/ Patient Playing Wii (page 3): Man Playing a Game (page 3):

Further Reading To learn more about how the Wii is helping people go to: To learn more about how violent video games generate violent behavior go to:

The affect of video games on health  

the affect of video games on aggression, treating patients in hospitals, vision, and more.

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