Playing Tetris, one of the most popular video games of all time, could help reduce flashbacks for those who have been through traumatic experiences, according to a new experimental study published this week in the journal PLoS ONE. Laboratory work by a team of Oxford University scientists found that the game has a special ability not shared by other computer games.

'Our latest findings suggest Tetris is still effective as long as it is played within a critical six-hour window after viewing a stressful film,' said Dr Emily Holmes of Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry, who led the work. 'Whilst playing Tetris can reduce flashback-type memories without wiping out the ability to make sense of the event, we have shown that not all computer games have this beneficial effect -- some may even have a detrimental effect on how people deal with traumatic memories.'

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