Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Game consoles 'cause skin sores'

Playing Playstation
Excessive use of consoles may cause physical problems

A new skin disorder caused by use of games consoles has been identified by skin specialists.

The condition, dubbed PlayStation palmar hidradenitis, is described in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers outline the case of a 12-year-old girl who attended a Swiss hospital with intensely painful sores on the palms of her hands.

The girl, who had been using a games console regularly, recovered fully after 10 days of abstinence.

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
Nina Goad
British Association of Dermatologists

Doctors who examined her at the Geneva University Hospital concluded she had a condition known as 'idiopathic eccrine hidradenitis', a skin disorder that generally causes red, sore lumps on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The condition has been previously found on the soles of the feet in children taking part in heavy physical activity, such as jogging.

It is thought to be linked to intense sweating.

Unusual symptoms

For the disorder to only affect the hands is very unusual.

The patient had not participated in any sport or physical exercise recently, and could not recall any recent trauma involving her hands.

However, her parents did say that she had recently started to play a video game on a PlayStation console for several hours a day, and had continued to play even after developing the sores.

The doctors suspect that the problem was caused by tight and continuous grasping of the console's hand-grips, and repeated pushing of the buttons, alongside sweating caused by the tension of the game.

The researchers said cases of addiction to using games consoles had been recorded, but the symptoms had initially been thought to be psychological.

However, some physical symptoms, such as acute tendonitis, dubbed Wiitis, had begun to emerge.

They said 'PlayStation palmar hidradenitis' could now be added to the list.

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists said: "This is an interesting discovery and one that the researchers are keen to share with other dermatologists, should they be confronted with similar, unexplained symptoms in a patient.

"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."

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd, manufacturers of PlayStation, said: "We firmly believe that video gaming is a legitimate entertainment pastime like watching movies, listening to music, or reading books.

"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.

"PlayStation was launched in 1995 and has sold hundreds of millions of consoles over the last 13 years.

"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."



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