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U.S. DoD Awards Houston Cancer Center $3.7M for Anti-Smoking Game

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded researchers at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, a $3.7 million grant to develop a serious game application that will curb smoking among active-duty military personnel.
The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded researchers at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, a $3.7 million grant to develop a serious game application that will curb smoking among active-duty military personnel. According to an article at Scientific American, the game will be similar in concept to Escape With Your Life, a youth-oriented anti-smoking title developed in part by M. D. Anderson Cancer Center professor Alexander Prokhorov. "The video game in general is becoming more popular among researchers who want to deliver a health message to a target audience," Prokhorov told Scientific American. "I think that the major advantage of this game [is that it] allows [players] to maintain interest." Research performed by the Center found that more than half of a surveyed group of 239 Escape With Your Life players aged 15 to 19 reported quitting smoking after playing the game. A similar application for the U.S. military will be ready for testing in 2011, and a finished product is expected to be available for distribution by 2013.

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