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Tetris could cure post traumatic stress disorder


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Scientists are claiming a strange new use for iconic video game Tetris; as a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers from Oxford university said they believe that the 90s classic could offer a "cognitive vaccine" against flashback development after trauma exposure.

They carried out an experiment whereby volunteers were made to sit and watch traumatic film footage of death and injury before being asked to play either Tetris or another video game "Pub Quiz".

It found that 30 minutes after the traumatic film, playing Tetris led to a "significant reduction" in flashbacks compared to a no-task control, whereas Pub Quiz led to a significant increase in flashbacks.

In addition, four hours after watching the film, playing Tetris led to a significant reduction in flashbacks compared to no-task control, whereas Pub Quiz did not.

"Not all computer games are beneficial or merely distracting post-trauma - some may be harmful" noted the research.

"Second, the beneficial effects of Tetris are retained at four hours post-trauma. Clinically, this delivers a feasible time-window to administer a post-trauma cognitive vaccine"

Tetris, originally designed by Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov was first released in 1984, but it was the launch of the game on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 that really saw it shoot to fame.

It has now sold more than 70 million copies, with the game enjoying a renaissance on the smartphone, having sold more than 100m copies since 2005.

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