Arts & Culture / Mosaic / April 15, 2009

Health Beat: Video games, brain tumors

Violent video games good for eyesight

Tel Aviv University’s Goldschlager Eye Institute collaborated with the University of Rochester to test the effects of video games on an individual’s vision. Their experiments asked participants to play 50 hours of a violent game such as Unreal Tournament 2004 & Call of Duty 2 or a non-violent game like The Sims. Each person’s CSF (contrast sensitivity function) was measured to determine the quality of a person’s eyesight. It was previously thought that CSFs could only be improved with medical intervention, but playing 50 hours of a game over nine weeks showed a 58 percent improvement in contrast sensitivity for people playing video games. The most improvement showed up in people who played first-person shooting games. The experiment will be published in Nature Neuroscience.

Possible tumor cure found

Researchers at the University of North Carolina recently found a compound that may be used to stop deadly brain tumors. Their research specifically pertained to a mutation in a gene that replenishes a compound known as a-KG. When the gene is mutated, a-KG is reduced, which increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen to tumor cells. When a-KG is added to tumor cells, the effects of the mutation were reversed. Right now, the team hopes to manufacture a-KG as a clinical drug to help people with GBM (glioblastoma multiforme). Their research will be in the April 10, 2009 issue of Science.

Information courtesy of

Sara Koehnke

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