The Science of Gaming in Healthcare

I came across an article today that got me thinking a bit about technology and health. This particular article announced the launch of a new scientific journal that will focus on the science of gaming in healthcare.

One piece of information that struck me, but also made complete sense on about two seconds of further thought, stated that numerous studies have shown that better gamers make better surgeons. When think of the manual dexterity, hand eye coordination and quickness of mind that it takes to be a good gamer I can immediately understand that these skills directly transfer to the skills a surgeon uses every day.

This peer-reviewed journal titled Games for Health will focus on how games can impact healthcare. Some of the topics that will be covered in the journal include nutrition; weight management; self-management; cognitive, mental, emotion, and behavioral health; and disease prevention.

As many of you know, video games have found many practical applications in a variety of fields. They are used for flight simulation, battlefield exercises and mental rehabilitation. I have been using Lumosity for about two years now. Lumosity is a popular online game website devoted to improving your brain’s performance in several areas. These areas include flexibility, speed, attention, memory and problem solving.

I have found that the site does a good job creating games that are fun to play while being beneficial. These games, administered in a regime laid out by a qualified professional, have been found to help improve students with learning disabilities by several studies. Studies have also shown these brain games slow cognitive degeneration in older people.

But video games are only a recent development in mankind’s gaming history. Many games provide great cognitive benefit. Chess is certainly one legendary example of this. A good chess player needs to be able to plan ahead, anticipate opponent’s moves, and adapt when the unexpected occurs. Legendary chess players are said to be able to analyze hundreds of different scenarios when planning each move. This is pretty amazing.

Crossword puzzles are another example of a brain healthy game that is extremely popular. These little word puzzles help us with our creative thinking, vocabulary and other language skills. Even putting together a crossword puzzle is an art in and of itself and a great brain exercise.

Almost all people like to play games. They are enjoyable and a good way to bond with family and friends. They also make us feel good and reduce stress. Make some time for games that will challenge your mind. It is a health thing to do.