Australian Neuroscientist: Video Games Great for Stroke Rehab

August 12, 2011 -

Neuroscientist Stuart Smith of Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney is using video games to make rehabilitation exercises for stroke patients less boring. Smith says that the biggest problem with rehabilitation exercises for stroke patients is that most participants find that they are about as exciting as watching paint dry. Many of Smith's stroke patients find the traditional exercises associated with rehabilitation repetitive and frustrating. Traditional rehab improves motor control and reduces sensory and intellectual impairment.

"This is especially the case with the young guys," says Smith. "It's difficult to even get them to turn up to the rehabilitation sessions sometimes. You can move a bag of sand across a desk thousands of times a day and see a very clear improvement, but no one's going to do that."

Smith sees that people would rather play video games, so he has come up with a novel approach, combining both. While Smith could use a VR system used by many in his field (San Francisco psychologist Ralph Lamson's VR immersion therapy technology is one that has proven effective), Smith prefers using games that are readily available on systems that support motion control, such as iPad and the Wii.

"We use a game called Fruit Ninja," Smith explains. "It's a fruit-slicing game you play on an iPad touchscreen." The game requires players to make frequent rapid precision wrist movements across the screen to slice the virtual fruit. The movements mimic exercises used in fine motor-skills therapy. Smith is also modifying certain games for the Nintendo Wii and other consoles to make them easier for stroke patients to play. The results are promising, according to Smith.

"We've found that most of our patients actually do more than what we ask of them," says fellow NeurA researcher Penelope McNulty, creator of a similar Wii-oriented rehabilitation program. "In traditional therapy, it's a struggle to get people to do the minimum amount. [This] is a lot of fun, so people enjoy doing it. Therefore, they do the hours they need to do to gain the benefit,"

McNulty adds that rewards and incentives built into the game, along with the element of competition are very "motivating" to many patients.

It also doesn't hurt that many of the games these neuroscientist use are familiar to many patients, which isn't the case with other rehabilitation methods. McNulty also notes they use these games and game systems "in a very structured, formalised way" and that patients are given "specific movement strategies to work on."

It's not yet clear if the video games serve the rehabilitation process better than more traditional programs, beyond the engagement and interest shown by patients.

"We'll be investigating that with functional magnetic resonance imaging tests soon," says McNulty.

"This is really just the beginning," Smith says. "We're going to see these things get better and better."

Source: The Australian


 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenRelevant or not, the guy's pretty darn entertaining.11/25/2014 - 4:58pm
WonderkarpJohn Oliver : Corporations On Twitter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_7xur1iRc I feel like this is relevent11/25/2014 - 4:53pm
WonderkarpBurt Macklin, Anthropologist. I look forward to Jurassic Parks and Recreation.11/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenYep.11/25/2014 - 4:16pm
E. Zachary KnightDid Jaws 3 take place in a theme park?11/25/2014 - 4:14pm
Andrew EisenHey, they're remaking Jaws 3. Sweet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN411/25/2014 - 3:22pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/sony-to-refund-vita-customers-in-ftc-settlement-over-false-ads/ Sony is offering a refund to Vita owners who fell for their false advertising during the Vita launch.11/25/2014 - 2:49pm
Matthew Wilsondoes not shock me. people have been representing this as right vs left, but in truth its more like left vs even more left. better put is social libertarianism vs liberal moralism.11/25/2014 - 2:36pm
WonderkarpOfficial Occupy WallStreet Twitter Supports GamerGate https://twitter.com/OccupyWallSt/status/536928387869474818 heh11/25/2014 - 2:11pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that given that the gc adapters have been sold out everywhere, I thought it was higher.11/25/2014 - 11:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/smash-bros-sells-over-490k-on-wii-u-in-three-days/ Some good Nintendo news for a change.11/25/2014 - 11:48am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.865821-Irrational-Games-Rises-From-The-Dead-is-Hiring-Again11/25/2014 - 10:20am
Neeneko@james - yeah, the bar is low, but it still requires a DA that wants you to indict. This grand jury was so oddly handled I would not be surprised if the feds get involved.11/25/2014 - 10:19am
WonderkarpETSY find of the Day. http://tinyurl.com/pa7ymqb I want that on my wall.11/25/2014 - 9:31am
Michael ChandraThe Grand Jury isn't supposed to go "but there is reasonable doubt of their guilt, so no trial", right? I thought the whole idea was "there is reasonable doubt of their innocence, so let a full trial+jury decide."11/25/2014 - 8:41am
Michael ChandraExcept for when cops are involved. Which I never understood. In cases where police officers shot unarmed fleeing people in the back, how can you not assume there is a reasonable chance it was out of line?11/25/2014 - 8:40am
james_fudgeThe old joke is that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich - that's how little evidence it requires. The bar is LOW.11/25/2014 - 3:19am
Wonderkarpstill catch 2211/24/2014 - 10:22pm
Matthew Wilsonit wasnt a trail though. it was a reasonable suspicion. the bar for that is very low. there are cases that wnt to trial with way less evidence than this one.11/24/2014 - 10:14pm
Wonderkarptbh. the whole trial is a catch 22. cause any verdict would cause some kind of loud backlash. I hope I'm wrong and the Backlash doesnt happen, or is small.11/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician