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Journey to the Lymph Node Game is a fun digital game designed to teach you about the immune system and lymph nodes.

Where can I access the game?

To play the game, visit Journey to the Lymph Node Game.

Does it cost anything to play?

No. This game is free for anyone to access.

Why should I learn about lymph nodes?

Without a heart, blood cannot pump around the human body.

Without lymph nodes, the human body cannot effectively fight disease. Lymph nodes can be thought of as the little hearts of the human body’s lymphatic system. We have 600-1000 of them all over the human body to try to ensure that disease can be eliminated.

For people that live with conditions such as cancer and for those suffering from conditions whereby the lymphatic system does not function correctly (such as lymphoedema, lipoedema and venous disease) it is important that a basic understanding of how the lymphatic system works is acquired. Lymph node removal, for example, such as sentinel lymph node biopsies and node dissections are common treatments for cancer. In order to understand why cancer is detected at the lymph node, patients and health practitioners need to understand the role of lymph nodes in immune surveillance.

Why should I learn about the immune system?

All human beings face bug invaders including viruses, parasites and bacteria. It is important that both patients and practitioners understand the basics of how the immune system functions in order to keep the human body healthy. White blood cells are constantly trying to battle bug invaders!

Let’s look at a real case study that was published by Yuping and colleagues in 2016.

This 28 year old presented for investigation of itching, multiple erythema, papules and multiple pustule lesions on the nose and cheek.

Case of demodicosis due to Demodex mites (parasites).

When his skin was investigated with an electron microscope the parasite below was found.

There were four pairs of feet on the side of the head of the parasite!

Most people can describe why we have a heart and therefore how blood pumps through the human body. Many people cannot however describe why we have lymph nodes and lymph and why the body filters it through the human body.  It is the role of the body’s white blood cells to be able to respond to any bug invaders, such as parasites, and eliminate them. Lymph is the means by which bug invaders are able to float or swim through the human body. It is at the lymph node that the body can fight and eliminate any big invaders.

What content is included?

This game includes a video on lymph nodes by Professor Neil Piller, Lymphologist, from Flinders University.

There are animations, pictures, videos and quiz questions to test your understanding of the immune system.

Your job is to take Harry – a bug invader, through the lymphatic system (by rolling the die) and reach the finish line (representing a lymph node.) During your travels you may land on a green square (representing a lymphangion) and be presented with interesting facts about the immune system. Answer the quiz questions correctly to gain points and increase your score (representing the host’s immune response).

The following is a screenshot of the game board.

Journey to the lymph node game board

Journey to the Lymph Node Game Board from the Australian Institute of Lymphoedema

Learning objectives

1/ Understand the role of lymph nodes in the context of immune surveillance

2/ Describe the role of white blood cells in immune surveillance

3/ Explain the role of the lymphatic system in immune surveillance

This game is suitable as part of an adult education program in alignment with education on basic lymphatic anatomy and physiology. This game would not be intended as a stand alone education piece. It would be intended to be used as part of an online course that accompanied other games and interactive educational materials to provide comprehensive education on basic lymphatic anatomy and physiology.

Why was this game produced?

This beta version of the Journey to the Lymph Node Game was produced by the Australian Institute of Lymphoedema in May 2022.

This game will be researched as part of Andrea Mangion’s PhD (Flinders University) to assess whether online education and digital games can improve awareness of the lymphatic system. Ethics approval will be sought in mid- to late 2022. Your feedback is valued on the beta version of the game prior to the launch of this research study. Please email us via hello@instituteoflymphoedema.com.au with any valued feedback.

We hope that you enjoy your learning experience!

Acknowledgements

Professor Neil Piller, Lymphologist, Flinders University – expertise and video on “What are lymph nodes?”

Bruno Ivasic, Business Analyst – JavaScript coding, technical game development, testing and requirements gathering

Andrea Mangion – Titled Cancer and Lymphoedema Physiotherapist (APA), Casley-Smith Trainer and eLearning developer

Sigvaris, who has supported the initiatives of the Australian Institute of Lymphoedema. Sigvaris is a supplier of world class compression garments products for the treatment of lymphoedema. Visit https://www.sigvaris.com/en-au and NSW supplier of Sigvaris products Garnet Medical [Hugh Quach]: https://www.garnetmedical.com.au/ 

Music – Alex Productions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fac4NDT-0f4

File antibody: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antibody.svg

Characterization of the Dynamic Behavior of Neutrophils Following Influenza Vaccination: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

Observation of Fungi, Bacteria, and Parasites in Clinical Skin Samples Using Scanning Electron Microscopy: This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.