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Medicine And The Wii

tmL85WokFSyG1KcqUR456wZMVwx5Tupw.jpgThis is shaping up to be a big week for the Wii in medicine — not only is the American Heart Association’s endorsement of Wii and new partnership with Nintendo making waves, but today is a day we’ve marked on our calendar for a while: Trauma Team for Wii was released [May 18th]. 

After years of trauma center releases focusing on surgery (some of which we’ve written about here), this is the first offering that lets gamers delve into emergency and pre-hospital care.

Of course, the game runs counter to standard teachings (in one demo video we saw a practitioner abandon her airway procedures to tend to an abdominal wound) and is at least as unrealistic as prior offerings — but then again if we wanted more accuracy, we could just go to work…

Product page: Trauma Team

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Plastic Surgeon Is The King Of Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong record being a marker of surgical skill

Donkey Kong has a new recordholder — and he’s a plastic surgeon.

Hank Chien, M.D., scored 1,061,700 points in 2 hours and 35 minutes, breaking the world-record score for the classic arcade game.

Read the piece to learn how he did it, and more interestingly, the painstaking steps he had to take to verify his score.

The feat does lend some anecdotal support linking video games and the hand-eye coordination required for surgery. There are small studies linking the laparoscopic skill of surgeons with how well they do on video games. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

The Friday Funny: “Relevant Crazy Warning”

I think this is about the risk of seizures caused by video game flashing lights… But I’m not sure.


Diabetes: The Game?

The idea of creating a game about diabetes both intrigues me and creeps me out a little bit.  Diabetes is a game? I guess after an evening of “WHY 200?  WHY?!!” I’m not feeling so light and fluffy about diabetes.  But I see the potential for kids to learn about diabetes and its management through the use of games, so I’m all so for whatever gets good information out there.  And over the last few days, I’ve come across two particularly interesting games, thanks to reader alerts, aimed at kids who either have diabetes or have friends with diabetes.

The first game is on the Nobel Prize educational games site and it’s cleverly called The Diabetic Dog game.  (Wee bit short on imagination once they got to the naming part, I suppose.)  I will admit – I played this game for at least 15 minutes and I appreciated the cuteness of the doggy.

The Diabetic Dog Game

As a “caretaker,” I was instructed to keep my diabetic doggy (named, in my profile, “DoggyPants”) happy (by petting him), well-fed (by purchasing food for him), getting him to exercise (by walking him), and keeping his blood sugar in check by giving him insulin injections.  Keeping an eye on the bar at the bottom left of my screen let me know what DoggyPants’s blood sugar was, and I could feed and dose him accordingly.

(Sidenote: Having that bar gauge with his blood sugar in it sure helped me figure out what I was doing, and I wondered if the developers of this Diabetic Dog Game realized how they’re helping further the case for continuous glucose monitors.) 

Overall, I liked how this game showed the importance of insulin, food choices, and exercise as the cornerstones for good diabetes management, and it didn’t tout insulin as “a cure.”  Basically, all you do is chase this little puppy around and feed him or dose him or walk him.  Constant cycle of redundancy, only the results aren’t predictable.  Kind of like real life.  🙂

The other game I have been receiving reader alerts on is the Didget from Bayer.  I haven’t seen this game in person, but according to the word on the street (read: their website), “The Didget blood glucose meter from Bayer is the only meter that plugs into a Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite gaming system to reward children for consistent testing.”


So it’s an actual meter that snaps into the Nintendo system.  (It appears to be, or be completely identical to, the former “GlucoBoy” from a bit ago.)  Honestly, that is pretty darn cool, and I wish that kind of “fun” was available when I was testing my blood sugar as a kid.  Hell, I’d like to have that kind of positive reinforcement NOW, thank you very much.

“This unique meter helps encourage consistent testing with reward points that children can use to buy items within the game and unlock new game levels. And, since the DIDGET meter is based on Bayer’s trusted CONTOUR™ system, you know you’re getting a meter that’s reliable.” They are also building a community for kids to “hang out in” virtually, comparing notes.  Of course, since it’s Bayer, they need to slide in their personal product endorsement, but they have the right idea.  Test often, get rewarded for keeping tabs on your numbers, and maybe Nick Jonas will show up at your house and give you a hug.

That last part?  A lie.  But Bayer is working its way into the hearts of kids with diabetes, and as a former kid with diabetes myself, I would have appreciated that kind of innovation as part of my childhood with this disease.  From what I can tell so far, this meter is being marketed towards diabetics in the UK, but hopefully there will be a United States counterpart.  With mg/dl readings.  Because doing conversions when low?  Not so easy.

So there you have it. We’ve come a long way from that game with the elephants or the other one about the Escape from Diab, and hopefully more efforts will be made to engage kids – and adults! – with diabetes.  Positive reinforcement is hard to come by in this whole diabetes mess, so every little bit helps.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

People Might Risk Their Lives For Video Games

If we had a power outage for a really, really long time, how would you fare? Really…could you go a really, really long time with out your computer, TV, cell phone over, say, your refrigerator? If you had access to a super powered generator what would you turn on? In other words, what would you find “essential” – things like refrigerators, the stove and perhaps a light or two…or technology.

A recent article in USA Today is quite illuminating. It turns out that many people, adult people, are so hooked on technology that in the case of a massive power outage they would actually put their lives and those of their kids at huge risk by turning on things like video games over truly essential items like lights and a refrigerator by running the games in a closed garage.

The USA Today article points out the highlights of a new study in this month’s Pediatrics about the dangers of gas-powered generators. The study notes that after Hurricane Ike, an ER in Houston treated 37 people from gas-generator-related carbon monoxide poisoning. Of those people, 54% were under the age of 18 and 75% of this group were playing video games.

This study highlights that our sense of “what is essential” has become skewed towards all that is plugged in. If our kids can not deal without technology for a bit, if we can not deal without technology for a bit, it’s time we took a collective big step back and realized that we actually can. It will feel strange and foreign for a day or so but life will go on because our “essentials”…food, shelter, oxygen, family…are met.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*

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