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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 10, 2010 

A new report suggests engagement in video games can help children and adults find relief from acute and chronic pain.

Researchers report virtual reality is proving to be effective in reducing anxiety and acute pain caused by painful medical procedures and could be useful for treating chronic pain.

According to a presentation at an annual scientific meeting, when children and adults with acute and chronic pain become immersed in video game action, they receive some analgesic benefit.

Virtual reality produces a modulating effect that is endogenous, so the analgesic influence is not simply a result of distraction but may also impact how the brain responds to painful stimuli,” said Jeffrey I. Gold, Ph.D.

“The focus is drawn to the game not the pain or the medical procedure, while the virtual reality experience engages visual and other senses.”

While moderating a symposium entitled “Virtual Reality and Pain Management,” Dr. Gold noted that the exact mechanistic/neurobiological basis responsible for the VR analgesic effect of video games is unknown, but a likely explanation is the immersive, attention-grabbing, multi-sensory and gaming nature of VR.

These aspects of VR may produce an endogenous modulatory effect, which involves a network of higher cortical (e.g., anterior cingulate cortex) and subcortical (e.g., the amygdala, hypothalamus) regions known to be associated with attention, distraction and emotion.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/10/video-games-help-relieve-pain/13660.html



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