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Video Games Can Help Promote Lifestyle Changes, Prevent Use of Dangerous Drugs like Actos

Recent studies into the therapeutic use of video games show that games can be used to promote a more active lifestyle, teach about self-care, empower patients to be more active in their treatment, and even build connections in the brain. These benefits can help patients, in the long-term, stay away from dangerous drugs like Actos and Avandia.

The University of Utah published a study showing the therapeutic use of video games in a hospital setting can help teach patients – including children – about how to care for themselves and ward off some of the harmful side effects of diabetes, asthma, depression, and even cancer.

Active games, like Dance Dance Revolution, are unsurprisingly good for overall physical health and well-being. What the research team that the University of Utah studied, however, was video games’ long-term benefits, especially on mental health.

The team included faculty from the Department of Pediatrics, the Brain Institute, College of Fine Arts, College of Pharmacy, School of Computing, the Entrepreneur Center, and students who recently graduated from the Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) Master’s program, and was headed by Dr. Carol Bruggers. They studied therapeutic video games, including one their hospital used, called Patient Empowerment Exercise Video Game (PE Game for short). The game promotes activity and a “fighting spirit,” which can help children with cancer recover more quickly.

The group also looked at clinical data related to other types of video games on major systems, such as Wii, Xbox, and Playstation. They studied both sedentary and active games.

Patient empowerment is a great way for both doctors and patients to better manage health care. When patients actively take control of lifestyle changes, they recover more quickly and reduce harmful side effects. As more and more people are becoming obese, and are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and related health issues, anything to promote a more active lifestyle will help patient care in the long term.

Video games could also be used to help elderly patients with neurorehabilitation. Patients who have had strokes, or who have Parkinson’s disease, can rebuild some neural and motor pathways just by playing Wii boxing or bowling games, a recent study found.

These video games can be used as a positive, incentivizing, and non-pharmacological-based treatment to enhance a patient’s sense of well-being and empowerment. The games can also be used to educate patients about their health, and show them how long-term lifestyle changes can benefit them, in an accessible way.

Grzegorz Bulaj, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah, adds: “Research shows that playing video games increases levels of dopamine in the brain, but whether interactive technologies can mimic actions of pharmacological drugs remains unknown. Nonetheless, our study points towards video games becoming a part of personalized medicine, helping and bringing smiles to individual patients, doctors, nurses and physical therapists. Our paper shows these games offer great promise, but we also looked at the challenges of delivering safe, efficacious and fun-loaded therapeutic games.”

Non-pharmacological interventions are becoming an important part of medicine, especially as more and more patients come forward about the dangerous and harmful side effects of drugs such as Actos and Avandia. Actos has been used to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes, and was widely prescribed until very recently. However, in the last year, studies have linked Actos to a dramatically increased risk of bladder cancer, as well as heart disease and diabetic macular edema. The studies led France and Germany to ban the drug from their markets in June 2011.

If you or a loved one has taken Actos to treat your Type 2 diabetes, and you have since suffered side effects including bladder cancer, liver failure, heart disease, or diabetic macular edema, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm are accepting cases nationwide against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.



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