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A recent report in the British Medical Journal describes the case of a 15-year old boy that developed hand-arm vibration syndrome after long term use of a home video game system called Sony Playstation.
The condition is characterized by the shut down of blood flow to the hands by the constriction of the small capillaries that normally supply circulation to the fingers and is commonly seen in adult heavy equipment operators who work with high vibration tools for extended periods of time. Exposure to cold weather aggravates the condition. These negative health effects have led to lawsuits forcing manufacturers to develop tools that limit or dampen vibrations.
In the case of the boy, he had been experiencing pain into his hands for about two years and when exposed to the cold the hands became swollen and turned white. When the hands were warmed up they become painful and turned red.
The 15-year old spent up to seven hours a day playing the game but also indulged in driving games that had a vibration mode, which could be activated by the hand held controller. The researchers of the journal concluded that the implementation of warning statutes should be considered for parents and users as to the dangers of prolonged exposures to vibration. Parents could then be advised to monitor the time their children spend using these devices.
1) Smith, MD, Michael W. Video Game Causes Damage From Vibration 1 Feb. 2002
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