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Geek Therapy
How Geek Culture is saving the world. Can geeky, nerdy, and techy things help heal the world? Absolutely. | For the Geek Therapy Podcast and more, visit http://www.geektherapy.com.
Curated by Josué Cardona
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Your health plan – now with video games

Your health plan – now with video games | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Consumers and health experts alike have long tried to make healthy choices seem more palatable by adding a dose of fun. (Think parents sneaking vegetables into their kids’ macaroni and cheese.) Now, companies are getting in on the action, using games to nudge employees in a more healthful direction.


Experts say such game-like health programs can be used to encourage consumers to engage in a wide range of healthy activities—everything from working out to getting flu shots.

Josué Cardona's insight:

Health insurance companies are using gaming innovations to help people stay healthier, and keep costs down. Everybody wins.

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Middle School Student Wins National Contest Promoting Eating Right in Video Game

Middle School Student Wins National Contest Promoting Eating Right in Video Game | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

A fan of video games, the 14-year-old decided to take the project seriously and spent several hours over two weeks at school and home to come up with the game’s components. 

 

Brightly said he enjoys video games with heroes saving the world. Those games inspired his storyline of “Vege-Wars,” in which a middle school student is recruited to fight a war against “fast foodies” — unhealthy fast foods — and teach others about better eating options.


“It’s supposed to teach about how you should become active and healthy. Eating fast food is not something to do, because it just makes you more unhealthy,” Brightly said.

 

The Henry Middle School student won the best overall, or “Bestivore,” award out of nearly 400 entries from 42 schools across the country for his game.

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The Health Benefits of Call of Duty and Mario: Video Games Make Society A Better Place

The Health Benefits of Call of Duty and Mario: Video Games Make Society A Better Place | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
According to a 2009 study, "Enjoyable leisure activities ... are associated with psychosocial and physical measures relevant for health and well-being," including "...lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index, and perceptions of better physical function." On the other hand, lack of leisurely pursuits is linked to several less than desirable outcomes, like lack of energy, lowered immunity to illness and strained relationships.

 

So games are fun and fun is healthy, but we can get more specific about the benefits of gaming.

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Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on TED.com

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.

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When video games become a 'lifeline'

When video games become a 'lifeline' | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Reine Warden has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by loose joints, easily bruised and hyperelastic skin and fragile blood vessels. The chronic illness can be very painful, which means Warden often spends "a lot of time shut up at home," as she phrases it.


But even though she's stuck at home, she's not alone: Warden connects with her friends through video games, which she says have become her "lifeline."


"Video games not only give me something normal that I can do, something normal I can do with my friends, but they also get me outside of myself," Warden says. Watch this NBCNews.com video for more from Warden on how video games have helped her deal with her condition.

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Videogames can encourage good behavior in youth

Videogames can encourage good behavior in youth | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

New studies by Iowa State University psychology researchers have found further evidence that youth who play prosocial video games -- games in which characters help others in nonviolent ways — can increase helpful and decrease hurtful behavior.

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Exploring the Pain of Depression in Webcomics

Exploring the Pain of Depression in Webcomics | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

But what makes Depression Comix and Hyperbole and a Half different is that they bring the reader up close to the depressed mind and shout, "Hey! This is what it's like in here!" They've put words and pictures behind something that is incredibly difficult to articulate. For folks who have suffered from depression or are currently suffering from depression, the benefit is twofold. First, there is the ever-important sense of kinship, the realization that someone else understands the very thing that you are going through and that you aren't completely alone.

 

On top of that, these comics can help non-depressed folks who may understand depression at an intellectual level understand it at an emotional one as well. After all, it's easy enough to talk about neurotransmitters and decreased serotonin; it's far more difficult to get at the meat of what makes depression so devastating.

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