Playing Tetris May Help PTSD Sufferers, Says Study

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eHealth_July 6 2015_news_tetris and PTSDResearchers may have found a unique treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to a recent study published online in Psychological Science, video games played 24 hours after a traumatic event can reduce the related, unwanted memories of the event. The specific game used in these experiments was Tetris.

The study involved inducing “intrusive memories” into the 52 participants, who were each forced to watch a 12-minute video of traumatic events.

Twenty-four hours after viewing, half of the participants were then shown stills from the film. The goal was to reactivate the memories from the video. A 10-minute filler task was then completed to allow for the intrusive memories to reconsolidate, followed by 12 minutes of playing Tetris.

The other half of the participants went through the same process; except instead of playing Tetris, they were instructed to sit quietly for the 12 minutes.

All participants were then instructed to keep a diary of any intrusive memories they experienced that related to the traumatic film and “that appeared spontaneously and unbidden in their mind.”

The findings revealed that the participants who played Tetris experienced less intrusive memories than those who did not.

A second experiment was conducted in which the participants were split into four groups to test whether memory reactivation (through the stills) or Tetris alone could decrease the manifestation of intrusive memories.

Researchers concluded that memory reactivation and Tetris combined led to fewer intrusive memories.

Ella James, the study’s lead author and researcher at the UK Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, commented, “Our findings suggest that, although people may wish to forget traumatic memories, they may benefit from bringing them back to mind, at least under certain conditions — those which render them less intrusive.”

The goal of this study was to create a strategy to help reduce intrusive memories for those suffering with PTSD.

Source for Today’s Article:
“Can playing Tetris reduce intrusive memories?” Medical News Today web site, July 6, 2015;

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Adrian has been working in the information publishing world since 1997. But when it comes to health information, he’s a self-admitted late bloomer. A couch potato since pre-school, Adrian was raised on TV, video games and a lifestyle that led to childhood obesity that followed him well into adulthood. But when he hit his forties, he decided enough was enough. He had a family to take care of and his days of overeating, under-exercising and inactivity were going to lead... Read Full Bio »