The University of South Carolina has been issued a 2 million dollar grant to study the affects the Wii has on the recovery of stroke victims. Not only has the University of South Carolina received a grant to study the affects of video games, many other schools have too. Check out the descriptions below.

Cornell University’s Department of Communication will explore a cell phone game named Mindless Eating Challenge with a group of teenagers. The game makes use of nurturing virtual characters, phone cam snapshots of food, feedback from game/peers, and nutrition tips in order to steer teens into healthier eating habits.

Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation has created The Skeleton Chase, an collaborative/competitive multimedia mystery game designed in part to helping newcomer students fight the “freshman fifteen” or the poundage gained by new college students in their 1st year due to alcohol intake, rich cafeteria food, fast food, snacks, and lack of proper sleep. Used to be called the “freshman ten” once upon a time.

Maine Medical Center will look into Dance Dance Revolution’s effects on families with at least one overweight child between ages 9 and 17. Through use of game and pedometer, the study observes family dynamics in regards to activity as it tracks stats on time spent active, enjoyment factors, body mass index, and more.

Union College’s Department of Psychology will test out senior citizens’ “cyber-cycling” or cycling on exercise bike with a networked 3D screen (an exergame program called Fit Club). This virtual environment allows those over 50 to compete or cooperate with their fellow middle-agers and elders.

The University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine will test exergaming’s influence on young teens aged 11 to 15. They use XaviX’s Virtual Reality Sports—a mini Wii Sports of its own with its tennis, baseball, boxing, bowling, golf, fishing and other heart-pumping sporting simulations (complete with appropriate racket, bat, club, and rod)—to rate frequency of use, intensity of activity, duration of play while also checking for social interactions which may have impact on how the youngsters play.

The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts has developed Wellness Partners, a character-vehicled social mobile device game made for people ages 12 to 44. Involving family and friends, it combines social networking and caring for virtual pets and is designed to test how well people respond to a virtual support network when trying to put together healthy lifestyle habits.

The University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine will look into whether virtual world role-playing games (RPGs) can have influence on the recovery of former alcoholics against relapse into alcohol abuse. Testing those aged 18 to 65, they will check the behaviors and health statuses of those who played the game vs. those who did not.

The University of Florida’s College of Public Health will research whether action-adventure game Sega’s Crazy Taxi on the PlayStation 2 can improve senior citizens’ visual attention acumen and cognitive reaction time. Testing together groups of 3 retirement community occupants aged 65 and over, it cross-references those who played the game vs. those who received traditional vision training programs.

The University of Washington’s School of Medicine will investigate health impacts of online mobile mini-games for people with Type 2 diabetes, from age 18 on up. The little games are designated to help players achieve better blood sugar control by teaching them to spot the carbohydrates and calories in their foods. Through two game strategies tailoring and tethering, the first made to make game fit player’s goals and the second made to have player meet a goal set by the game, the study seeks to better eating habits and dietary knowledge.

The University of Vermont’s School of Medicine will try out a breathalyzer biofeedback game in hopes of helping children with cystic fibrosis improve on self-administering of inhaled medicines, engagement in respiratory exercises, and general awareness of their respiratory state. As a bonus this research can help children and adults with asthma and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health is set to study the motivations of people, ages 18 to 35, to expend energy during gameplay. It contrasts the physiological energy expense of people playing traditional controls, Wiimote controls, and controls from Dance Dance Revolution’s dance pads to Guitar Hero’s guitar to Wii Fit’s Balance Board. The study wants to discover what causes the player’s sense of presence or focus in the game and their innate drive to play both which increase the length of time players game.

The University of South Carolina’s Research Foundation specifically covers cost-effective ways to help stroke victims recover movement ability through use of videogames. They will contrast and compare the games of Wii vs. PS2’s Eyetoy and their effects on mobility, balance, and the victims’ falling fears.