Friday, 28 July, 2017

Playing Tetris 'can help stop post-traumatic stress flashbacks'

Playing tetris in hospital after a traumatic incident could prevent PTSD, scientists say Playing Tetris 'can prevent painful flashbacks for crash victims'
Tracy Craig | 30 March, 2017, 01:54

But, as Sarah Knapton reports for The Telegraph, a new study suggests that intrusive memories can be mitigated by a less conventional method: playing Tetris.

A study of 71 people who went to an emergency department after a motor vehicle accident showed that those who played Tetris within a few hours of the accident had 62% fewer intrusive memories of the traumatic event over the next week, as compared with people who did not play the game.

PTSD can occur when someone has experienced a road accident, war, torture, rape or other situations where they felt their life, or the life of another person, was in danger. The proof-of-concept of the role, which Tetris could play within psychological interventions after trauma, is described in Springer Nature's journal Molecular Psychiatry, in a study jointly led by Lalitha Iyadurai of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom with Emily Holmes of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

During the study, the researchers found out that the patients who had played Tetris reported fewer incidents of intrusive memories or flashbacks in the week that followed.

"It would make a huge difference to a great many people if we could create simple behavioural psychological interventions using computer games to prevent post-traumatic suffering and spare them these grueling intrusive memories", added Professor Holmes. Not to mention, other researchers also found a more rapid reduction in bad memories among those who played the game.

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Holmes added: "Anyone can experience trauma". A control group spent 20 minutes writing about how they had spent their time in the emergency room since arriving. The patients were asked to envision the crash they had just encountered and then begin playing Tetris on a Nintendo console.

This isn't the first study to document the healing properties of Tetris.

Scientists from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology, Australia have previously found that it can help in curbing cravings for addictive substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. "I think playing Tetris helped focus my mind and bring some "normality" back to my head".

Their study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, wanted to assess whether this type of gaming could disrupting consolidation of a trauma memory.

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