Are games killing us?

Other, less fatal dangers are associated with intense videogame play. Sitting, it seems, carries its own risks. "We're seeing a dramatic increase in youngsters suffering back pain," says chiropractor Rishi Loatey. "It's to do with the amount of sitting we do. 60% of people in London don't leave their desk at lunchtime. There is an issue going on here. You're finding problems that you wouldn't expect to see in young people."

That dull ache in your spine is not because you "slept funny." It's because sitting down places six times as much pressure on the lowest disc in your back as walking around does. "Developing countries don't get back pain as much," says Rishi. "They're generally moving around. Our lifestyle in the west is so sedentary."

What causes the pain? Your spine is a complicated system of nerves and blood vessels encased in a series of bone rings. Between the rings are spacers of cartilage. Intense and sustained pressure from sitting in a single position can cause those spacers to press against the nerves. Feeling comfortable? Laptops are something to be particularly wary of: the screen is far below natural eye-level, the keyboard small and cramped. If that's your gaming system, Rishi's advice is to use an external monitor and keyboard, so you can sit at it more like you would a desktop PC.

In terms of what to look out for, well, you'll know it when you've got it. "Literally you'll find that you're either getting pain in the neck or lower back. There might be a tingling coming down through the arms. Your shoulders can be tight and tense. Movement with your fingers and thumbs can cause pain."

Freelance personal trainer Sean Trevena has concerns about a predominantly gaming lifestyle, but he's not quite convinced it means the end of mankind. "I don't believe that computers will get to such a point that the majority of the population will go home and play a game rather than do what they've always done - socialising, going to the pub or playing sports. There are always going to be people out there who want to do physical things."

He still has plenty of doom and gloom for anyone who spends most of their life gaming. "You won't be using your heart and lungs much, and there'll be muscle atrophy and wastage." The worst-case scenario? "Osteoporosis, because your bones will no longer be doing the weight-bearing that they would if you're walking around." In other words, your bones will become brittle and children will call you Mister Glass. In a healthy, active lifestyle, bones are constantly remodeled and reshaped - calcium deposits placed upon what was laid down earlier in life. If we don't do much moving about, that replacement doesn't happen. If eThrombosis doesn't kill you when you stand up after 85 hours of sitting, your legs shattering might.