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Gamer Kid Leads Study Showing Connection to Joint Pain

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A St. Louis fifth-grader, with help from his father (a rheumatologist) and researchers from New York University, led a study showing kids were more likely to complain of joint pain the more they played video games.

Deniz Ince, 11, is the lead author on the study, to be presented Monday in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. Ince, who enjoys playing the Wii, found his fingers ached when he squeezed oranges. He set about researching the matter to determine if video games were linked to it.


The study surveyed 171 of Ince's schoolmates, aged 7 to 12 years old. Eighty percent said they played consoles or handhelds, and half of those said they played less than an hour a day. A third said they played one to two hours daily, and 7 and 6 percent said they played 2 to 3 or 3 or more hours a day, respectively.

The study found that each additional hour of use increased the likelihood of experiencing pain by 50 percent. It also found a higher pain incidence in younger children than older.


The study's senior author, Dr. Yasuf Yazici of New York University, said "the younger the kids, the more significant the pain." Why exactly couldn't be proven by the research, although the researchers believe it might be because muscles and tendons in younger kids are still developing.

The survey respondents said the pain they felt was "generally mild," although some 22 percent found it enough to limit how much they played. Interestingly, playing a Wii exclusively resulted in more self-reported pain, regardless of the player's age or how much he or she played per day.

Video Games Can Play Havoc With Kids' Joints [HealthDay on U.S. News & World Report]