Study: Can Tetris prevent PTSD?

A study in Molecular Psychiatry investigated whether a short behavioral intervention after a traumatic incident would prevent emergency department patients from experiencing intrusive memories.

The researchers — led by Lalitha Iyadurai, PhD, a psychiatry researcher at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom — identified 71 ED patients at Oxford, U.K-based John Radcliffe Hospital who experienced a motor vehicle accident within the past six hours. They divided the patients into two groups: one that completed a 20-minute written activity and one that played a 20-minute Tetris gave.

The researchers hypothesized a computer game like Tetris would disrupt trauma memories, leading to fewer intrusive memories. This hypothesis was correct, with the Tetris group experiencing fewer intrusive memories and an overall decline in the number of intrusive memories over the following week.

Although the researchers acknowledged a larger study is necessary to detect the success of a Tetris intervention in the long term, they concluded their researcher offers "a promising new low-intensity psychiatric intervention that could prevent debilitating intrusive memories following trauma."

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