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Video Games and Health Care – Health Benefits Of Video Games

May 8th, 2012 at 9:21 am

Let’s celebrate National Nurses Week by taking a look at some interesting ideas from the world of healthcare! We’re all about the ways technology can improve life at work, and in recent years the healthcare industry has been reaping the benefits of an unexpected type of technology – video games. Here are just a few of the many ways the video game and healthcare industries have collided:

Many types of video game hardware have proven useful to medical personnel. Motion control technology is being used for many types of physical therapy, the Wii Remote controllers help diagnose certain eye disorders, and the Wii Balance Board has shown to be nearly as accurate as the bulky and expensive medical equipment that serves the same function. Maybe most innovative is the use of the Xbox Kinect sensors in operating rooms as a means of scrolling through different medical charts in a touch-free manner, eliminating the need to resterilize after handling a non-sterile clipboard or computer.
packy and marlon A game called Packy and Marlon, originally released on the Super Nintendo console, was created to help kids better understand juvenile diabetes, and help teach them better treatment for it. Players had to perform tasks such as monitoring their characters’ blood glucose levels and giving characters insulin at the same time as they took on a more conventional video game adventure.
immune attack High school and college students have the opportunity to learn immunology from the game Immune Attack, in which the player navigates a nanobot through the bloodstream, teaching the immune system how to fight different types of infections.
re-mission Re-Mission, a cancer-themed shooting game created by HopeLab, lets players blast away cancer cells and bacteria. Distributed for free to young people battling cancer as well as to healthcare workers in the oncology field, Re-Mission aims to encourage kids to keep up with their treatment regimens as well as increasing their understanding of the disease and boosting their confidence in their ability to beat it.
puzzle game foldit University of Washington scientists were able to solve a medical problem via crowdsourcing through the puzzle game Foldit. In just ten days, gamers replicated the structure of the retroviral protease protein, which had baffled scientists for a decade. This particular enzyme is related to the way HIV multiplies. Scientists are now able to see how the protein bonds and have a better chance of developing a drug to hinder its ability to spread.

Do you have a favorite healthcare-themed game that we missed? If you work in the healthcare industry, what do you think of these games – do they make your job easier in any way? Let us know what you think!

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