Too much PlayStation can cause painful lumps

LONDON Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:04pm GMT

Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 (PS3) game controller is pictured at a Sofmap electric store in Tokyo May 14, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 (PS3) game controller is pictured at a Sofmap electric store in Tokyo May 14, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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LONDON (Reuters) - Gamers beware: Keeping too tight a grip on the console and furiously pushing the buttons can cause a newly identified skin disorder marked by painful lumps on the palms, Swiss scientists said on Tuesday.

Called "PlayStation palmar hidradentitis" by the scientists, the skin disorder can cause painful lesions on the palms similar to patches found on the soles of children's feet after taking part in heavy physical activity, they said.

"The tight and continuous grasping of the hand-grips together with repeated pushing of the buttons produce minor but continuous trauma to the (palm) surfaces," Vincent Piguet and colleagues at University Hospitals and Medical School of Geneva reported in the British Journal of Dermatology.

A spokesman for Sony, which makes the PlayStation, noted the study involved one person and said the company had sold hundreds of millions of the consoles since the product was introduced in 1995.

"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," Sony spokesman David Wilson said.

"We would not wish to belittle this research and we will study the findings with interest, but this is the first time we have ever heard of a complaint of this nature."

Excessive gaming is already seen as a public health issue, sparking addictive behaviour that can lead to a range of psychological problems, the researchers said.

Other researchers have identified acute tendinitis from playing too much of Nintendo's Wii, and now a disorder related to the PlayStation can be added to the list, the team said.

Their study described the case of a 12-year-old girl who attended the Geneva hospital with intensely painful lesions on her hands, which she had developed four weeks earlier. She had no other lesions anywhere else on her body.

After questioning, the doctors discovered that several days prior to the appearance of the lesions the girl had started to play a game on her PlayStation for several hours each day.

The researchers suspected that grasping the console's hand-grips together with repeated pushing of the buttons produced minor but prolonged injury to the palm of the girl's hands, which can be made worse by sweating during a tense game.

The doctors recommended the girl stop playing and she recovered fully after 10 days, the researchers said.

"If you're worried about soreness on your hands when playing a games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to time, and don't play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating," Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Will Dunham)

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