A small study out of the US caught my eye as I was looking through news over the weekend. The Medical College of Georgia conducted an experiment on a small group of patients who are suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.Using a Nintendo Wii console, researchers had patients play a game on the console for an hour at a time to test their reactions and state of mind.
Researchers say they noted marked improvement in hand-eye co-ordination, and they also claimed that participants rate of depression went down to zero (depression is understandably high amongst Parkinson’s patients). Although there was only a control group of 20, and the length of the trail two months, what piqued my interest was the use of gaming technology being used to help sufferers of what can be a debilitating disease. This comes on the back of a recent report about gaming technology being used to help researchers find out why some babies are still born.
People who hate gaming tend to think of it as a waste of time – “you should get out more”, “can’t you do something more constructive” is often the catch cry of parents of teenagers who immerse themselves in gaming for hours at a time. But, as these couple of instances show, there is more to gaming than just entertainment value. There is definitely a place for this technology in the wider world and I for one believe this is just the beginning of technologies used in the entertainment field will have a cross-over into other areas, including medicine.