Juegaterapia premieres the documentary: “Chemo playing flies by”

Juegaterapia premieres the documentary: “Chemo playing flies by”

PS5 Based on a study that claims that video games help children with cancer

Juegaterapia documentary, “The chemo playing flies by”

La Fundacion Juegaterapia, which helps sick children cancer, has been working on his motto for ten years “The chemo playing flies by” during which time it has installed video consoles in pediatric oncology rooms in hospitals throughout Spain and in other countries. Now a pioneering scientific study promoted by the foundation, which has been carried out at the Hospital La Paz in Madrid, confirms that playing video games during chemotherapy treatment, makes children feel less pain and that the healing process is favored.

“Chemo playing flies by”, the documentary by Juegaterapia

This is the first time the beneficial effect is measured of the use of video games in the management of acute pain. The improvement in pediatric patients from the psychological point of view was already demonstrated, since reduces anxiety caused by hospitalization, favoring mental relaxation in such situations.

The investigation compares the influence of the use of video consoles on the pain of children, the morphine doses required and the level of activation of the sympathetic / parasympathetic system with state-of-the-art monitoring devices (Analgesia-Nocicepcin Index y Algiscan).

Said study is reflected in an emotional documentary “Chemo playing flies by” where the protagonists, children with cancer, their families, the La Paz medical team, headed by Dr. Franciso Reinoso-Barbero, head of the Pain Unit of the La Paz Children’s Hospital in Madrid and the Dr. Mario Alonso Puig, Patron of Honor of the Juegaterapia Foundation, they speak of their personal and scientific experience. In addition, it has the special collaboration of Alejandro Sanz who puts his voice in the narrative.


The documentary, which can be seen already on Amazon Prime Video and Filmin, has real testimonials from the children Estephany, Dani, Mario, Carlos, Marcos, Aaron, David, Hector, Alejandro and Manuel who, together with their families, explain what cancer meant to them and how video games helped them overcome it.

The Juegateparia Foundation with this campaign calls for donation of consoles now, after Christmas, at which time the old ones are replaced by the new ones that have arrived at the houses as gifts this holiday season. In addition, he wants, with the dissemination of the results of this scientific study, to reach the hospital medical directions to include video games in health therapy protocols.

20% less consumption of morphine playing with the game console

The pain the children felt during the observation was lower because it decreased by 20% the daily consumption of morphine; This refers to baseline pain and mood, reaching a decrease of up to 44% in the moments of greatest intensity, incidental pain. All this measured by a Visual Scale

14% increase in parasympathetic tone, which promotes healing

Acute nociception (conscious pain perception) is associated with changes in the regulation of the sympathetic-parasympathetic balance. In the face of a physical threat, our body activates the sympathetic system to help us flee from this aggression, but at the same time it acts negatively since it increases blood pressure and heart rate, among other consequences. The way to counteract this situation is with the activation of the parasympathetic system, which favors physiological recovery.

In conducting this study, children with cancer suffering from mucositis, one of the most painful post-chemotherapy consequences that does not even allow them to swallow saliva, they were offered play with game consoles while being controlled with two devices: on the one hand, the Analgesia-Nocicepcin Index (ANIR) monitor that measures heart rate and with the AlgiscanR video pupillometry system. The result was that no change in pupil size despite a lower dose of morphine, which indicates 14% increase in parasympathetic tone and 14% pain relief.


Francisco Reinoso-Barbero, Head of the Pain Unit of the La Paz Children’s Hospital in Madrid and co-author of the study, points out that “the clinical implications of these findings will be important, because video games could be included as part of the non-pharmacological therapeutic plan for pediatric oncological mucositis “.

In the words of Mario Alonso Puig, physician, lecturer and Patron of Honor of Play Therapy, “The sympathetic nervous system in children with cancer is activated in a situation as tough as being admitted to a hospital. The sympathetic nervous system mobilizes the organism so that we can flee from a threat, from a danger. However, the sick child cannot flee because he is somehow ‘anchored’ to his chemotherapy. The sympathetic nervous system when it remains active in a sustained way, it has very negative effects on the body. The same division of the nervous system that protects us against certain types of threats, the sympathetic nervous system, is working against us here. Sustained activation of the sympathetic nervous system overloads the heart, favors arterial hypertension and also hinders the functioning of the immune system, which is essential to cope with the disease.

Juegaterapia Documentary,

The research has been published in the journal “Journal of Medical Internet Research” bajo el ttulo “The Association Between Pain Relief Using Video Games and an Increase in Vagal Tone in Children With Cancer: Analytic Observational Study With a Quasi-Experimental Pre/Posttest Methodology”, y han participado en l Mario Alonso Puig, Patron of Honor of the Juegaterapia Foundation, Francisco Reinoso-Barbero, Chief of Anesthesia at the La Paz Children’s Hospital and member of the Royal Academy of Medicine, Diego Plaza Lpez de Sabando, Mercedes alonso Prieto, Jordi Mir, and Raquel Torres-Luna.

Travis M. Andrews
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book "Because He's Jeff Goldblum," a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.