dicine. "Whenever a new technology comes out, there are potential benefits of it and potentially harmful things. It's good that we're starting to say, 'these are things we need to look out for'... Also to ask, 'what are the potential ways we could use this as a tool for health,' rather than say 'get rid of them all.' "
"In general, this is like everything. Balance is the key," said Marcia Ory, Regents professor of social and behavioral health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in College Station.
But she added, people need to keep in mind that the average age of people in this study is 35, not the 65- or 70-year-old widow who may benefit more from this type of activity.
"One needs to understand the social context in which people are engaging in these games," Ory said. "There are a lot of older people who are socially isolated, and Internet and gaming actually helps them with social support."
The growing popularity of video games, according to the journal commentary, can be illustrated by the fact that the video game "Halo 3" made more money on its first day than either the last "Harry Potter" movie or the recent "Star Wars" movie.
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has more on the health effects of video games.
SOURCES: Marcia Ory, Ph.D., Regents professor of social and behavioral health, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station; James B. Weaver III, Ph.D., health communications specialist, National Center for Health Marketing, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ed.M., assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; October 2009 American Journal of Preventive Medicine
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