Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Internet cafe

DVT and Internet Users: proposal

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Recent studies have positively associated DVT or deep vein thrombosis with Internet usage, gaming and Internet cafes.

Medical research indicates that there might be severe risks associated with extended computer use without exercise. A study by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ) was initiated a few months after the reported deaths of two Asian computer gamers who died after spending more than 12 hours in front of their computers. The study found that “Those who spend excessive periods immobile at their computers could risk developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).” (Manktelow N. 2003)

Researchers at the New Zealand Medical Research Institute have also reported a case of “e-thrombosis.” This was a study of a 32-year-old man who spent between 12 and 18 hours a day working at his computer and nearly died as a result of a blood clot which traveled to his lungs after developing in his legs. Richard Beasley, director of the institute, said “…the incident may be the first reported case of “prolonged mobility sitting at a computer” leading to the development of life-threatening blood clots.” (Beware ‘e-thrombosis’: it could be terminal)

DVT is most commonly associated with air travel; however DVT as a result of long-term inactivity can also occur in other circumstances. The new phrase which has come to be associated with contemporary incidents of DVT due to long periods of computer usage is “e-thrombosis.” Deep Vein thrombosis is generally caused by a thickening of blood in the veins. DVT can be life-threatening when a clot is formed which may travel to the heart or other vital organs. “Thrombosis is an obstruction of an artery or vein by a blood clot (thrombus). “(Thrombosis) it is also a condition associated with the modern sedentary lifestyle and particularly with the computer generation who spend many hours in front of a computer screen. (Beware: Your PC Can Kill You)

DVT become world news in 2000 when otherwise healthy young English women died after a flight from Sydney to London. The reportage of DVT incidents have increased since that time with numerous reports of occurrences and deaths due to extended periods of inactivity,

DVT occurs in 2 million Americans each year. Death can occur when the venous thrombi break off and form pulmonary emboli, which pass to and obstruct the arteries of the lungs. DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) most often complicate the course of sick, hospitalized patients but may also affect ambulatory and otherwise healthy persons.

Callaghan G.)

However, it has only been fairly recently that DVT has become associated with Internet usage and online gaming. The case of the two South Korean men who died as a result of long hours in front of the computer underscores the contemporary danger of DVT to the modern Internet cafe generation.

24-year-old South Korean man, identified only as “Kim,” died at an internet cafe after playing for 86 hours. Just 10 days later, a 27-year-old Taiwanese man collapsed after playing computer games for 32 hours. Lien Wen-Cheng was discovered on the toilet floor of an internet cafe, bleeding from the nose. He later died from exhaustion. (Manktelow N. 2003)

Many medical experts concur that long periods of inactivity as a result of sitting in a rigid position can lead to DVT. For example Dr. Allan Zimet, federal treasurer of the Australian Medical Association states that “People get thrombosis all the time, especially if they are sitting for long periods.” (ibid) There are numerous reports and studies that attest to the possible link between computer and Internet usage and DVT. “With the explosion of broadband, gaming cafes, and wireless connectivity, online gaming has renewed concerns among some that the culture leads to addiction, health proble ms.” (Bode. K. 2003)

It is also no coincidence that many of the latest occurrences of e-thrombosis should occur in Asian counties. It is an established fact that Asian countries, and particularly Korea, are areas with a high rate of Internet and online usage. “For the last five years Internet user growth… has been a staggering cumulative average growth… (with)… 119% in Asia; 87% in Africa; and 80% in the United States and Canada.” (Smith T. 2003. p. 81)

This study is particularly pertinent to the Asian Internet cafes and community situation as countries like Korea have become the center of the online gaming community. “If Japan is the hub of the console industry, then neighboring South Korea is the hub of the online gaming industry – most notably, the massively multiplayer online gaming industry. ” (Fahey R. 2005)

In this regard Korea is known as the world’s “most wired society” (ibid) and the amount of tie spent on online gaming is very high, making it a country where rates of DVT can be expected to increase. The fact that gaming is so popular has been “implicated in the deaths of young players who played for so long that they developed deep vein thrombosis. ” (ibid)

The above facts form the foundation of the present proposal. The aim of this study is firstly to ascertain the importance of computer usage and the role that Internet cafes play in the prevalence of deep vein thrombosis. To this end various studies and reports such as the New Zealand study referred to above will be consulted. Questions such as, to what extent is extensive computer usage a significant factor in DVT and what role do Internet cafes play in these problems, will be investigated.

Secondly, the various factors which can alleviate and prevent DVT will be investigated. This area will include a survey and analysis of various Internet cafes and records of Internet users who have acquired DVT as a result of extensive computer usage. The study will also have to take into account other variables which are common in those who are most likely to suffer from DVT. These include variables such as obesity, blood diseases that lead to clotting, smoking, and those with a family history of DVT. (Callaghan G. 2001)

These facets will have to be taken into account in relation to the amount of time subjects spend in front of the computer.

There are also various aspects that can reduce the possibility of DVT, which will also form an important part of the study. These include the practice of good ergonomic principles while seated in front of a computer for lengthy periods of time. For example, doctors urge “… flexing your toes and ankles, drinking water, and avoiding alcohol

Computer users who sit for a long time should get up and stretch their legs at least once an hour… Taking an aspirin, which helps to thin the blood, can also help.” (Rossi S. 2003) These factors will be taken into account when preparing preliminary studies and interviews. It is felt that the that theoretical component of the proposed study should be compared with to quantitative as well as qualitative surveys and samples in certain specified areas, in order to attain the highest degree of verifiability.

The reason and motivation for this study is that the initial implications of the preliminary study indicate that computer and Internet related DVT is a real problem which is increasing in relation to the increasing number of Internet users and number of Internet cafes. This is particulars the case in Asia and a study of this nature is deemed to be important, not only to ascertain the extent and range of the problem, but also to discuss the viability of solutions and remedies that can be applied.


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