A specially designed video game may help teens and young adults with cancer stick to their treatment plan. Researchers randomly assigned 375 male and female patients ages 13 to 29 years old being treated for malignancies including acute leukemia, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcoma into two groups. Patients in one group played Re-Mission, a video game aimed at improving adherence to drug therapy; the others played a popular standard video game.
Patients in both treatment groups were asked to play their assigned game for at least 1 hour/week during the 3-month study. Thirty-three percent of Re-Mission players did so, compared with 22% of players of the other game.
As measured by electronic pill monitoring, adherence to prophylactic antibiotic therapy was 16% better in those playing Re-Mission compared with the control group. Researchers also found increases in "self-efficacy and knowledge" in the test group. Other outcome measures evaluated in the study (self-report measures of adherence, stress, control, and quality of life) weren't affected. Patients can download the game for free at http://www2.re-mission.net.
Kato PM, Cole SW, Bradlyn AS, Pollock BH. A video game improves behavioral outcomes in adolescents and young adults with cancer: A randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2008;122(2):e305-e317.