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Dr. Mario. Literally.

Could video games possess medicinal benefits?

by
Jon Bishop

Bio

June 13, 2012 - 9:00 am

According to an article in The Times of India, researchers from UC Berkley, the University of Rochester, and the Rochester Institute of Tehcnology have discovered that adults with lazy eye respond positively to video game-based treatment. Doctors previously thought the condition, amblyopia, to be untreatable once a patient reached maturity.

Now, however, things have changed:

In collaboration with Daphne Bavelier, PhD, of the University of Rochester and Jessica Bayliss, PhD, of Rochester Institute of Technology, Levi has been working on a new approach using video games for visual training.

The goal is develop a new type of action game that will combine the fun and excitement of video games while targeting the visual skills needed to improve visual performance in the weaker eye.

Initial clinical studies suggest that video games may improve several aspects of visual performance. In one recent study, this approach to perceptual learning led to recovery of three-dimensional stereo vision in adults with established amblyopia–even after decades without normal binocular vision.

And games not only assist patients. Doctors, too, have noted the advantage of using them for their medical training:

A reported 98 percent of medical students surveyed at the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin-Madison liked the idea of using technology to enhance their medical education, according to a study published online in BMC Medical Education.

For example, a virtual environment could help medical students learn how to interview a patient or run a patient clinic. In the survey, 80 percent of students said computer games can have an educational value. (University of Michigan, 2010.)

Take note. Now, whenever some sanctimonious fool tells you to shut off the Wii or Xbox or Playstation, tell them: “I can’t. Doctor’s orders.”

Jon Bishop likes to write.

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