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The Top Nine Ways Video Games Save Lives

by John_Scrovak   January 11, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 2,016

4.  Video Game Console Detects Heart Problems


Source: Bruce Ayres/Stone/Getty Images

Forget the Wii fit!  Thanks to Simon Scarle, a bit of software he wrote, and a graphics chip he tweaked, the Xbox 360 is the latest console in home health.  This does not come from any particular games, packages, or anything commercially available.  Yet.  What it does, however, is replace networks consisting of dozens of PCs and supercomputers used by hospitals to detect issues like heart arrhythmia.  Lacking a medical background, the best detail I could give you, dear reader, about this fancy modification is that it detects the electrical signals generated in the human heart, and can pinpoint (and illustrate) damaged heart cells.  If that's not the most amazing console out there that's not a PC, I don't know what is.


3.  Game Helps Teens Fight Leukemia


Source: David Hanover/Stone/Getty Images

Apparently there's an issue these days with trying to get kids and teens to take their medicine.  Whether it's popping Flintstone vitamins, taking their leukemia medicine, or putting the lotion on its skin, kids aren't exactly as prudent as could be.  That's why Hope Lab developed Re-mission, a cleverly titled game teaching players about their leukemia, and battling cancer.  Game players blast leukemia cells, save patients, and all the while get their therapy impressed on them, according to several doctors studying its effects.  In fact, they've even seen positive results through this enablement and control over the disease, especially when it comes to adherence to their medication regimen.  Thanks to Hope Labs, video games now fight cancer, and any move to ban video games would be an obvious move to ban cancer treatment.


2.  WoW Experience Helped Norwegian Boy Save Sister From Moose


Source: jeff roques/Flickr/Getty Images

When he and his sister were hiking in the woods behind their Norwegian home, Hans Jørgen Olsen saw a moose about to attack his sister.  Thinking back to World of Warcraft, he used skills he claimed to have learned in game.  He used "taunt" to draw the moose's attention, so his sister could escape.  As the moose came close, to attack the boy, the boy used "feign death."  When the moose noticed this boy who was apparently dead now, it lost interest and ran off, proving that WoW is largely responsible for the life of Olsen's sister.  Perhaps more importantly, it serves it to prove once and for all that Hunters in World of Warcraft really are a bunch of 12-year-olds.


1.  Triage Accident Victim


Source: Mike Harrington/Stone/Getty Images

The game America's Army, funded and developed by the United States Army, is a first person shooter game with a lot of training.  Real training, as it turns out.  For example, you have to go through boot camp before you can play multiplayer, you have to go through special forces training before you can play as a special forces unit, and you have to go through basic medic training before you can become a medic unit.  The medic training, as long and boringly informative as it is (What do you expect, it's a government-funded video game), is actually useful.  How?  Why, just ask Paxton Galvanek

Galvanek played as a medic, so he had gone through the medic training.  When he was driving down the road one day and saw an SUV roll over, he got out to help.  How did he know what to do?  In a letter he wrote to the America's Army team, he credits the game with teaching him how to dress the injured man's arm, treat his head wound, and keep the man's arm elevated to he wouldn't lose too much blood.  Now Galvanek had never received prior medical training, and America's Army was the extent of his medical knowledge.  Without the training he received from that video game, the accident victim could very well have died from blood loss.

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