Comment »Posted on Thursday 26 February 2009 at 12:18 am by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Health & Medicine

Technology, eh? If it isn’t enough that Facebook gives you cancer, now the BBC says that “Games consoles ’cause skin sores’”. I’ve got a wonderful mental image of a radioactive GameBoy.

A report published in the British Journal of Dermatology declares the discovery of PlayStation palmar hidradenitis, a “new” skin condition displayed by a 12-year-old girl admitted to a Swiss hospital.

The sore red marks and lumps on the patients hands were indicative of idiopathic eccrine hidradenitis, or swollen sweat glands. The condition is typically found on the soles of the feet of children who partake in have physical activity, such as jogging. This particular patient had not undertaken any such activity recently, however.

What she had been doing was playing a PlayStation game (the Sims) for hours on end each day, and she continued to play ever after the lesions appeared on her hands. As such, the doctors treating her suggested that the condition should be labelled as a more specific variant, PlayStation palmar hidradenitis, because “[e]xcessive video gaming is currently regarded as an alarming
health issue”.

This is nonsense. To label this condition as specific to games consoles, let alone one particular brand of games console, is completely pointless. It’s clearly a case of swollen sweat glands in the patients plam, a diagnosis that is fully covered by the doctors’ ultimate choice of idiopathic palmar eccrine hidradenitis. To stick “PlayStation” in there as well smacks of nothing more than sensationalism. A spokesman for Sony, manufacturers of the PlayStation, responded to the news:

“As with any leisure pursuit there are possible consequences of not following common sense, health advice and guidelines, as can be found within our instruction manuals,” he said.

“We do not wish to belittle this research and will study the findings with interest. This is the first time we have ever heard of a complaint of this nature,” he added.

Belittle it all you want, Sony. It’s rubbish.

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