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Doctors confirm 'Wii-itus' is a real condition

Warning: prolonged gaming may damage your health

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Wii gamers with aching wrists, arms, backs and shoulders could be suffering from acute Wiiitus now that a US man has become the first person to be formally diagnosed with the console-centric condition.

According to a report in the medical journal Skeletal Radiology, the 22-year-old began suffering from acute shoulder ache after "prolonged participation" in a virtual bowling game on the Nintendo console.

An MRI body scan, conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, later confirmed “diffuse areas of increased intramuscular T2 signal intensity”, which the three doctors examining the man diagnosed as a symptom of Wiiitus, a term they coined to define the medical problem.

The report, which comes just a few weeks before the release of Wii Fit in the UK, states that the console’s lightweight controllers don’t offer much resistance to the “aggressive manoeuvres made by the participant”.

This may lead to “awkward deceleration forces being applied to the upper extremity”. It’s this deceleration process that the doctors believe causes strain on gamers’ muscle groups, resulting in sprains – or worse.

To be fair, Nintendo has always warned gamers not to play on the Wii for excessive periods of time - two pages in the manual are dedicated to all the things gamers should watch out for.

Reports of gamers suffering sprained wrists and aching backs from extended Wii gaming sessions are not new. But this is thought to be the first time the phrase Wiiitus has been used by doctors to describe the symptoms as a condition in their own right.

That said, the Wii has a positive medical role as well as a negative one. It is being used at the Medical College of Georgia in the US as an occupational therapy tool to help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

A US-based fundraising event has even been set up to raise money for a local hospital by inviting people to take part in a Wii gaming marathon. Well, at least participants will be in the right place if excessive gaming causes their arms and wrists any harm...

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