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Playing computer games can be good for your health, according to a British boffin.

Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, reckons that research into the effects of playing computer games "is often trivialised".

Yet, he believes it should be taken more seriously especially since it can help aid the recovery of people who are ill.

His article in the British Medical journal (BMJ) found that playing games "can distract the player from the sensation of pain, a strategy that has been reported and evaluated among paediatric patients".

Video games can also be used to supplement physiotherapy or occupational therapy helping increase the strength in players' hands, for example.

"Such games focus attention away from potential discomfort and, unlike more traditional therapeutic activities, they do not rely on passive movements and sometimes painful manipulation of the limbs," he wrote.

But he also acknowledged that there is a downside to playing computer games including "auditory hallucinations" wrist pain and repetitive strain injuries, although many of these symptoms disappear once people stop playing games.

But he concludes: "On balance, given that video game playing is highly prevalent among children and adolescents in industrialised countries, there is little evidence that moderate frequency of play has serious acute adverse effects from moderate play." ®

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