Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
End Of Section
  • More News

Neurologists Paint Grim Picture Of 'Madden' Football's Long-Term Effect On Players' Brains

'Madden' players are finding their livelihoods endangered by the devastating neurological effects of the game.
'Madden' players are finding their livelihoods endangered by the devastating neurological effects of the game.

SAN JOSE, CA—In an alarming report that sheds new light on the dangers of the game, the Institute for Brain Injury Research published Wednesday the results of a five-year investigation into the long-term neurological consequences of playing Madden football.

"The situation is far more serious than we had previously thought," said Vincent Wu, head of neuropathology at the IBIR. "Playing Madden football increases one's risk for a wide range of cognitive impairments, from difficulty focusing, to a decreased awareness of one's surroundings, to a generalized inability to engage with society at large."

"Playing so many simulated seasons takes a devastating toll," Wu added. "The human brain was never meant to withstand the brutal impacts of this game."

Examining MRIs and PET scans of Madden football veterans, scientists discovered severely damaged neural pathways in parts of the brain associated with motivation and attention, malformations that might explain the common inability among players to perform such basic tasks as maintaining hygiene and preparing meals for themselves.

"Among current top-level Madden players, the vast majority suffered from profound personality and mood disorders," said Annette Crowley, an IBIR research fellow. "Our participants displayed irritability when presented with even the simplest commands—for example, to stand up from the couch or to interact with their own children for a while."

While cognitive deficiencies occurred among people who only played Madden football as youths and adolescents, the study showed an even grimmer outlook for those who continued playing the game into adulthood.

"Following a decade or more of intense play, these neurologically impaired individuals face incredible difficulty rejoining society," said Wu, who noted that a player's total game time was correlated with high levels of depression and an elevated body mass index. "They realize too late that they have done irreversible harm to their brains and bodies, and that they have no real skills to offer the world."

"It's all too common that they are forced to remain living with their parents for basic care," Wu added.

According to the IBIR, nine former Madden football players have agreed to donate their brains to scientific research after their deaths. Among them is 34-year-old Matt Curtis, who played every season from Madden 94 to Madden 09.

"This game took everything from me," Curtis said. "My fiancée left me, and I can't hold down a steady job. In college, I should have focused on my education instead of spending every waking minute playing the game. No one should end up like this."

In response to the study, EA Sports announced it would issue new safety guidelines for Madden 12 and urged individuals to refrain from play, even in Training Camp mode, if they experience poor balance upon standing for the first time in several hours or increased sensitivity to natural light after emerging from a darkened bedroom or basement.

However, many contend these recommendations fail to address what they call a pervasive culture within Madden football that ostracizes those who sit out games, particularly during online league play.

"Today's brand of Madden football is far different from the game of 20 years ago," said 34-year-old Dan Doyle, a former player turned safety advocate. "The style of play is much faster and far more aggressive. After 16 weeks of punishing games, you can see it in the dazed, glassy looks in the players' eyes. It's like they're not even there."

"These men—boys, really—have no idea what they're doing to themselves," he added.

Despite initiatives to educate Madden football players about such dangers, surveys show a majority of players object to measures that would slow the game down or limit playing time for at-risk individuals.

"The reason Madden football has so many fans is precisely because of its nonstop hard-hitting action," said current player Jed Ashbee, 26. "If you strip away the things that make the game so exhilarating, then all you're left with is Wii Family Fun Football, and nobody wants that."


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close