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Weekend Diversion: Curing Trauma with Tetris!

January 10, 2009 on 9:16 am | In Random Stuff |

Now, this is the kind of research I like to see. The BBC is reporting that people who experience stressful, traumatic circumstances are more likely to be spared post-traumatic stress disorder if they — wait for it — play tetris.

What happened? Volunteers were exposed to stresses, and some of them were told to come back later, while others, after 30 minutes, were allowed to play tetris, and then told to come back later. When they returned, the non-tetris group reported very high levels of flashbacks to the traumatic, stressful events, but the tetris-playing group didn’t.

Now, this doesn’t help people deal with PTSD who’ve had stressful events happen a long time ago, but it may help those flash-back-able memories from forming in the first place. The scientists from the study had this to say:

We wanted to find a way to dampen down flashbacks - the raw sensory images of trauma that are over-represented in the memories of those with PTSD.

Tetris may work by competing for the brain’s resources for sensory information.

We suggest it specifically interferes with the way sensory memories are laid down in the period after trauma and thus reduces the number of flashbacks that are experienced afterwards.

So what’s my (non-medical) diagnosis? A Lollipop! When you have a stressful thing happen that you think may traumatize you, and you just want to forget, then sit down immediately and play a few games of tetris.

Now, I’d like to be as helpful as possible. So what kind of webmaster would I be if I didn’t include a freeware version embedded here?


So the next time you experience something incredibly stressful, if you don’t want to be remembering it and having flashbacks for the rest of your life, maybe you should try stopping back here and playing tetris for a little while? It can’t hurt…


5 Comments »

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  1. Actually, I think I suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after my “early-90’s-tetris-phase”… I still can’t face it!

    ;-)

    Comment by Ian O'Neill — January 12, 2009 #

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