Researchers Use Games to Help Children with Cystic Fibrosis

July 29, 2011 -

Video game-focused research being conducted by students and researchers at Champlain College in Vermont may prove to be an effective way of helping children with cystic fibrosis better deal with sticky mucus that can clog their lungs and make breathing difficult.

Children with cystic fibrosis often need to cough up the thick mucus to keep it from blocking their airways. One common treatment for this is chest physical therapy, also called clapping or percussion. Pounding on the chest and back, using a cupped hand, a mechanical aid, or special vest, can help loosen mucus and break up clumps so they can be coughed up. Another method is a special breathing exercise called "huffing." Researchers in Vermont found that children often refused to do huffing exercises, claiming they would rather play video games. It doesn't take a member of MENSA to figure out that children could be enticed to do these exercises with the help of some entertaining technology of some sort.

The research team turned the breathing exercises into a video game by designing software that forces players to breathe in certain ways to play the game. The controller for the game is a digital spirometer, a tool used to measure how much and how fast air is moved out of the lungs on each breath. Students at Champlain College in Vermont helped create one of the games; players can drive a race car, fill it up with gas, and wash it by performing special breathing techniques. Another game allows children to blow slime off animals they discover in the game in order to earn treasures.

Peter M. Bingham, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Vermont and pediatric neurologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care thinks these new ways of getting kids to do huffing exercises are incredibly helpful and useful to patients.

"The medical goal of the game was to increase breathing maneuvers that respiratory therapists believe can help keep the airways of cystic fibrosis patients clearer," Bingham said.

Researchers tested their games on 13 children ages 8-18. The participants had their lung functions tested, and then spent two weeks playing the games and another two weeks using the spirometer without game play. The research team concluded that the participants’ ability to take a deep breath improved more significantly after playing the games. They posit that this happened because participants practiced the breathing technique more while playing than they did simply using the spirometer.

Bingham's conclusion?

"We think these results show that using spirometer games can be a good way to involve children in respiratory therapy." He said. "I think it’s ethical and appropriate to meet kids ‘where they are’ with some engaging digital games that can help them take charge of their own health."

The results of the study will be presented at the 2011 Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Source: Empow Her

 


 
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IanCBroke my EA boycott to pick up Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare. Loving it. Still hate EA though. But i like Popcap. Gah.08/30/2014 - 6:01am
MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
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E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
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Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
 

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