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Nintendo consoles injury warning

Nintendo games consoles might be wrapped up under a lot of trees this Christmas b ut scientists have found that unless you take plenty of breaks from playing, you might just end up in hospital.

Nintendo consoles have been linked to dozens of injuries to gamers.

While most have suffered little more than a sore t humb from hammering the buttons too hard, some have been struck down with life threatening injuries from playing too much.

Two patients were rushed to hospital having had a stroke after playing on a Nintendo Wii, while another needed surgery for a hernia after exercising on the Wii Fit game.

A 55-year-old woman was also found to have suffered a massive chest bleed after falling on to her sofa while playing tennis on her Wii.

The injuries were uncovered after a team of Dutch researchers gathered all reported cases of Nintendo-related problems to see whether it was a safe present to give at Christmas.

After searching two medical databases they found 38 reports of injuries and problems ranging from neurological and psychological to surgical.

The findings, published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, include early reports of seizures, dubbed "Nintendo epilepsy".

There were also two cases of Nintendo-related incontinence, where children were so engrossed in playing Super Mario Bros they ignored the need to got to the toilet.

A case of "Nintendo neck" was reported in a child playing his Game Boy for 30 minutes in a hunched position, while "Nintendo elbow" was diagnosed in a 12-year-old who played his console "a lot" for more than a month.

Nintendo-related problems in the thumb, hand and wrist are referred to as "nintendinitis" or "nintendonitis", and were associated with strenuous game play using a traditional controller with buttons or a joystick.

After receiving more than 90 complaints, Nintendo handed out protective gloves to all owners of the game Mario Party, in which players had to rotate the joystick quickly with their thumb.

And after Nintendo introduced the Wii in 2006, with its motion-sensitive remote controller, there were reports of injuries arising from playing its most popular game, Wii Sports.

A 29-year-old man was found to have acute tendinitis in his right shoulder after playing the game for several hours.

Another report described a case of carpal tunnel syndrome in a woman who played a bowling game for six to eight hours daily for 10 days. There were also two reports of Achilles "wii-itis" - a partial tear of the Achilles tendon.

Tennis was found to be the most dangerous Wii sport overall, and the most common injuries were hand lacerations and bruising.

The researchers, led by Dr Maarten Jalink of the University of Groningen, said: "Overall, a Nintendo is a relatively safe Christmas present.

"However, those who receive such a gift should not swing the controller too hard, they should be careful about where they play, and they should take frequent breaks."

A spokesman for Nintendo said: "The Wii video game system is often credited with getting people up off the couch. But, as with any activity, people playing the Wii system, or any other Nintendo product should pace themselves and not overdo it.

"Nintendo is committed to the safety of its customers and always includes comprehensive health and safety guidelines with its products. Provided these are followed correctly, a user should be able to enjoy their Nintendo product safely."

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