home
RSS
Traumatized? Playing Tetris may reduce flashbacks
November 10th, 2010
05:49 PM ET

Traumatized? Playing Tetris may reduce flashbacks

The rapid-fire visual puzzles that make Tetris so engrossing may also make the video game a promising treatment for post-traumatic stress, a new study suggests.

Recurring, intrusive thoughts of a traumatic event (or events) are one of the hallmark symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a type of anxiety disorder. According to the study, which appears in the journal PLoS ONE, playing Tetris soon after a traumatic experience appears to protect against these flashbacks, by distracting the brain from the event and short-circuiting how upsetting memories and images are stored.

Not just any video game will do. Notably, the study found that games that rely on trivia or language skills don't appear to have the same therapeutic effect as stacking Tetris blocks, probably because they activate different areas of the brain.

Health.com: Can ecstasy help ease post-traumatic stress?

"Verbal tasks may not be as effective because they will not affect the same neural networks," says Dr. Alexander Obolsky, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, who specializes in the treatment of PTSD. "It's a different part of the brain that processes that information." (Obolsky was not involved in the new research.)

To explore the effect of Tetris on post-traumatic stress, researchers in the UK used a well-known lab model of trauma: They showed a series of upsetting film clips (fatal car accidents, graphic surgery) to 60 people, then asked the participants to record how often they experienced flashbacks from the film.

The volunteers, who had no history of mental health problems, were divided into three groups. Shortly after watching the film, one group played Tetris, another played a word-based quiz computer game, and the third simply sat quietly.

Health.com: Playing Tetris may build up your brain

In the first 10 minutes, the participants who played Tetris had just four flashbacks, on average. By comparison, the quiz-game players had about six flashbacks, and the participants who did nothing had 12 flashbacks.

More importantly, the protective effect of Tetris seemed to be lasting. Over the following week, members of the Tetris group continued to experience fewer flashbacks compared with the quiz-game and control groups. (The researchers asked the participants to record their flashbacks in a diary.) The group who played the quiz game actually experienced more flashbacks over the week than the group who did nothing.

"A visuospatial task such as Tetris may offer a 'cognitive vaccine' against the development of PTSD flashbacks after exposure to traumatic events," the researchers concluded. The study was led by Emily Holmes, a senior research fellow in psychiatry at Oxford University.

Health.com: Study: Too many video games may sap attention span

While the results of the experiment suggest a way to head off PTSD, much more research is needed before experts can start recommending Tetris or similar visual tasks for trauma victims in the real world.

"If this indeed keeps working in various situations in further studies, then perhaps at one point we can try it with people who have actual PTSD," Obolsky says. But, he adds, "there are years before this may or may not have something to do with what I do in my office with my patients."

Effective therapies that can be administered within hours of a traumatic event are desperately needed, Holmes and her colleagues write. In fact, they note, some existing forms of early intervention counseling can even make PTSD symptoms worse.

Post by:
Filed under: Brain • PTSD

soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. خرید کریو

    thank you
    خرید کریو http://01.fcvpn.org/

    December 17, 2014 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Celine Berdes

    drzwi przeciwpozarowe

    http://www.Qd8TWsLzbb.com/Qd8TWsLzbb

    September 22, 2016 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. detectives privados santa pola

    detectives privados san javier

    https://www.argadetectives.com/arganda-del-rey.html

    December 12, 2020 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. earn passive income in autopilot

    Imagine getting hundreds of people flooding your inbox on autopilot, This is made thanks to traffic conveyed on autopilot over various “viral tiers”. 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. More details: https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    December 26, 2020 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Benita Zanis

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – 30 minutes to send to customers

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    January 27, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Earn-Money Auto-Pilot

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps: Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic and start earning your income in same day. More info: https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/gp8vk/0

    https://bitly.com/2EgbfPr

    January 30, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Alexandra Banko

    Earn 3000 a Month With Our Passive Income System

    https://jvz3.com/c/289727/331887

    February 5, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kaitlin Beaty

    Earn 1000 a Month With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021

    https://jvz4.com/c/289727/342230

    February 6, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 1000000GSA Backlinks

    500000 Scrapebox Blast Live SEO blog Comment Backlinks: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.