Wii Fit helps legless, Tetris helps traumatised


Games are dangerous, corrupting, evil things. After all we have been told that playing GTA IV is more harmful to kids than watching porn and drinking beer, and how the Nintendo Wii can cause serious injury to players and observers alike.

Now, it appears, the truth is emerging. A brilliantly uplifting report explains how one-legged patients at Seacroft Hospital in England have been using the Wii for rehabilitation.

Physiotherapists at the hospital have been using Wii Fit and the balance board to help teach new amputees how to use their prosthetic legs. Apparently the balance board gets past the problem that many have with being able to put weight through the false leg by enabling them to see exactly where the weight is going. Wii Skiing has also been used to improve balance and control for these patients.

Meanwhile, that classic game of Tetris has found a place in the first aid box as well. Scientists are claiming that a game of Tetris can help overcome the symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as worrying flashbacks for example.

Researchers from Oxford University have described the game as being a cognitive vaccine that prevents painful flashback memories by providing a visiospatial cognitive stimulation for the patient if used in the immediate aftermath of the traumatic event. It would seem that there is a six hour window in which to act, which does rather restrict the possibility of providing the treatment unless the paramedics on scene or doctors in casualty keep a charged up DS in the first aid kit next to the defibrillator.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

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