Though one might expect handheld games to excite or agitate the player, studies done by Newark University Hospital researcher and anesthesiologist Dr. Anu Patel indicate that playing games are the most effective way to ease the anxieties of children immediately prior to surgery, according to an Associated Press report. Patel's inspiration for the research stemmed from noticing how a friend's child was able to block out the rest of the world as he played his Game Boy at a restaurant.
Dr. Patel says that the team finds "the children are just so happy with the Game Boy that they actually do forget where they are." The deployment of handheld games proves useful, he says, in situations where the parents are reluctant to have their children tranquilized before surgery; besides which, according to Patel's research, a round of games before the operation can have a greater calming effect than other traditional comfort items such as stuffed animals or holding their parents' hands.
The findings make such projects as the currently-in-progress Child's Play charity, which revolves around delivering video games to children's hospitals, even more compelling and potentially helpful. If you're interested in donating games or money to the Child's Play fund, please visit the official website
for the charity.