UK Researchers have shown that playing the classic Russian block puzzle Tetris can help people deal with distressing images.
In the experiment, PLoS One took 40 volunteers and exposed them to some distressing images. The test group was then given Tetris to play half an hour later.
The results were that the players suffered fewer "flashbacks" to the images, due to what the scientists refer to as "disrupting the laying down of memories".
"Flashbacks" are seen as one of the most distressing features of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), consisting of raw sensory images of trauma.
"Tetris may work by competing for the brain's resources for sensory information," said Dr. Emily Holmes, one of the researchers. "We suggest it specifically interferes with the way sensory memories are laid down in the period after trauma and thus reduces the number of flashbacks that are experienced afterwards."
One of the real problems that the research went through is the ethical consequences of putting patients through trauma, so whilst this research is a step in the right direction, application is a long way off.