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Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

European researchers have built a computerized play platform for elderly people. Field testing shows that the system keeps elderly players mentally sharp, stimulates socialisation, and can alert caregivers to developing problems.

The key “generic” objective of ElderGames project is to develop IST-based games using advanced visualisation and interaction interfaces with high preventive, therapeutic value that will allow elderly people to enjoy new ways of leisure and entertainment while improving cognitive, functional and social skills. The main goals will also facilitate to:

1. Promote the e-inclusion of elderly people by means of play activity,

2. Contribute to an overall improvement of the abilities impacting Quality of Life through play, with particular emphasis on cognitive skills.

3. Support communication between elderly citizens and their families across Europe by means of play proposals which will allow them to share their experiences by means of an alternative-augmentative communication system capable of overcoming linguistic barriers and,

4. Provide experts specializing in elderly care and supervision with an innovative play application to be used in their daily professional work able to monitor variables related to quality of life, specially cognitive skills.

Therefore, ElderGames will also be the first play platform able to allow an early detection of cognitive disease or social unease, and so, implement the advisable response to them. Thus, since ElderGames has been conceived as a tool for early diagnosis, no elderly participants suffering severe cognitive impairment will take part in the project.

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The Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and five other burn centers in the nation has been trialing a form of treatment that uses a virtual world called Snow World. The purpose is to provide burn patients with a way of reducing pain without the need for drugs.

Snow World

Snow World

Snow World was created at the University of Washington in Seattle by researcher Hunter Hoffman and Chicago-native David Patterson.

Researchers at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Burn Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and the University of Washington in Seattle are monitoring patients’ ratings of their time thinking about pain and the amount of pain they experienced with and without Snow World.

“We’re studying the effects on both soldiers and civilians, because it has far-reaching implications, since we all suffer pain,” said Dr. Christopher Maani, lead author of the first study results. Maani is the chief of anesthesia at the Army Institute.

The effect of the treatment on these patients was first published in the Journal of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation last summer, where researchers reported that Snow World was an effective way to reduce the patients’ experience and level of pain.

Primary source: Medill Reports

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Although the Chinese government wants to control internet use by its citizens, it does recognize that some people can become addicted spending time in the virtual world. Chinese psychologist, Tao Ran, runs an addiction center at a military base just outside of Beijing.

Surprisingly, research suggests that China has the world’s largest number of internet users with around 290 million people with access to online facilities, of which 70 percent are under the age of 30. In a study by the global market information group TNS, they found that 44% of Chinese users spend the highest proportion of their leisure time online.

With so many people active, it is not surprising that some develop addictive behaviors. In an article for the Christian Science Monitor, Jonathan Adams comments that, “Tao estimates that 4 to 6 percent of Chinese netizens, which includes more than 13 percent of Chinese college students, are addicts – a term he defines as anyone who spends more than six hours per day for three months or more on nonwork- or study-related Internet use. That amounts to as many as 17 million net junkies in China. By comparison, about 8 percent of college students in the US are addicted Web users, he estimates.”

Tao suggests that addicts “can’t adjust to school and society, so they try to escape their difficulties and avoid problems. They lack self-confidence and often don’t have the courage to continue their lives.”

Treatment consists of a three-month period of discipline, counseling, confidence-building activities, sex education, and medication for about 60% of clients.

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