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Games for Health Holds One-Day Event at USC during E3 Expo Week

Conference to Explore Emerging Use of Videogames and Game Technologies in Health and Healthcare

Portland, ME - May 8, 2006 -- On Tuesday May 9, 2006, the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, more than 125 game developers, researchers, sponsors, healthcare providers and other experts will gather at the University of Southern California's Davidson Conference Center to discuss how cutting-edge videogame technologies and development techniques are contributing to breakthroughs in health and healthcare. This event, organized by the Games for Health Project (www.gamesforhealth.org) is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and TATRC (www.tatrc.org), and hosted by USC's Annenberg School for Communications and USC's Institute for Creative Technologies.

The morning program will showcase original efforts to use exciting, high-impact games that help audiences through health messaging, disease management, physical rehabilitation and behavioral and mental health treatment. Presenters will also highlight training and planning games that support telemedicine delivery, trauma surgery and response to both natural and manmade disasters. Held in Los Angeles the day before E3 kicks off, Games for Health Day will devote afternoon sessions to consumer videogame products that can be used for personal and patient-directed health benefits. Speakers will present research results showing: the effects of Konami's Dance Dance Revolution on physical activity levels, the use of games in relation to cognitive health, and ways to reduce anxiety among children being prepped for surgery by giving them portable game systems. Experts also will discuss the growing exergaming market, along with efforts to use Nintendo's GameCube and other videogame console systems to create new interfaces for doctors and patients to manage chronic diseases. More information about the event is available at http://www.gamesforhealth.org/archives/000135.html

"What is interesting about the Games for Health field is not only rapid growth in projects and interest but the increasing number of efforts crossing into the commercial consumer marketplace - especially in the area of exergaming, aging and healthy cognition. In exergaming, for instance, the benefits of using videogames to engage in healthy aerobic exercise and physical therapy by millions of videogame fans is well on its way and is already showing commercial success." said Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Games for Health.

KEYNOTE
Game industry veteran Don Daglow, founder of Stormfront Studios, will provide the opening keynote. Stormfront will show "Eragon" at E3 for Xbox360, PS2, Xbox and PC, published by Vivendi Universal Games and based on the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox feature film inspired by Christopher Paolini's best-selling fantasy novel. Daglow's talk will focus on where the games industry is headed and what new technologies are enabling not only for use in entertainment but also for sectors like health and healthcare.

"I'm excited that the game industry's pursuit of lifelike characters and environments is shared by health and healthcare professionals. The same technologies Stormfront is using to create our next-gen games can increasingly be used to train doctors and nurses, or to offer children and adults a chance to learn about diseases and other health issues. Entertainment is an essential part of healthy life, and now through initiatives such as Games for Health, the techniques of make-believe can be used to help people face very real, personal challenges. I'm excited to help attendees see these potential synergies and be part of the critical real-world mission of healthcare professionals." said Daglow.

E3 TOURS
As part of the Games for Health Project's efforts during E3, on Wednesday May 10 Games for Health will host two dozen health and healthcare researchers and professionals on the E3 show floor. Attendees will see the next wave of technologies, game designs and products that the industry is planning for 2006 and beyond. Attendees of these show floor tours will then debrief with Games for Health Project leaders and brainstorm about how these advances can be applied toward needs in health and healthcare.

"Last year we took a small group around E3 and it was a great experience for them. Our guests saw, for example, the advanced physiology of the competitors in Electronic Arts' next boxing title, the interactive experience afforded by Sony's exergaming title EyeToy Kinetic, the simulation in Atlus Entertainment's Trauma Center for the Nintendo DS, and much more. It's one thing for health professionals to hear about ideas involving technologies like touch screens, dance mats, massive multi-player games, PS3, or the new Nintendo Wii controller; it's quite another for them to see these technologies firsthand." said Ben Sawyer.

FUTURE EFFORTS
In the fall of 2006, Games for Health will host its third annual national conference at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Held September 28-29, this event will feature over 30 sessions, an interactive exhibit area and much more. Additional details will be released in late May. The Project is also planning several other activities that will further advance the growing "games for health" community, including an updated knowledgebase, local meetups with health and healthcare professionals, and additional results from its work exploring new uses for games and game technologies in healthcare.

About The Games for Health Project
Games for Health is a project produced by The Serious Games Initiative (www.seriousgames.org), a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars effort that applies games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership, and management issues. The Project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best practices platform for games being built for healthcare applications. To date, the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals and game developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on healthcare and policy. This includes an effort to catalog the current use of games in healthcare. For more information about Games for Health, visit www.gamesforhealth.org.

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