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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Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
 

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