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Researchers have conducted many studies showing that video games can improve your health by increasing skills involved with social interaction and improving reflexes. These Oxford and University of Washington studies took those ideas even further by developing studies to see whether video games could be used to improve the health of victims of trauma. Oxford University researchers worked to combat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the retro gaming classic Tetris. Patients who played Tetris after viewing traumatic imagery were shown to have lesser issues with PTSD, such as flashbacks. These studies hope to go on to further help veterans and other victims of combat-related illness.
University of Washington researchers chose to experiment with virtual reality. Spider World is a program created to help patients overcome phobias with a safe and controlled exposure therapy. Before this treatment, patients were unable to come within 5 ft of a caged tarantula. After treatment, their anxieties had reduced to the point that they could approach within 5 inches. Another UW experiment is called Snow World. This study was created to help patience recovering from severe burns. During the burn recovery process, patients are required to go through painful cleanings and treatments. This can cause heavy reliance on pain medications. Burn patients who tried Snow World were able to greatly distract themselves from these painful treatments. Patients reported a 30-50% reduction in the pain from their injuries.