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


 
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Michael ChandraI don't like bullying anymore than you do, and yes, I think you're petty. Not commenting on the sob part, because I don't know your mother and don't see why I'd insult her.10/22/2014 - 10:02am
quiknkoldif that makes me petty, then I guess I'm one petty sob10/22/2014 - 8:48am
quiknkoldwell I'm sorry Conster, Having my skull smashed in when I was 14 made me skeptical to apologies when it comes to Bullying regardless of the platform its given. I guess Bullies beat the sympathy out of me.10/22/2014 - 8:47am
ConsterOn an unrelated note, I'm missing a "heck if I know" option on the poll.10/22/2014 - 8:33am
ConsterIf someone offends a bunch of people on twitter, they should apologize on twitter, and not accepting said apology because it's "only" on twitter is petty.10/22/2014 - 8:22am
BillThe first link is 4 days old, I didn't see it until today.10/22/2014 - 8:19am
BillJust posting them for the record since they have become part of the GG narrative.10/22/2014 - 8:17am
Billhttp://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/21/Incredibly-GamerGate-is-winning-but-you-won-t-read-that-anywhere-in-the-terrified-liberal-media10/22/2014 - 8:14am
BillOh yeah, http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/10/17/Supporting-GamerGate-Does-Not-Make-You-a-Bully10/22/2014 - 8:14am
BillThere are now two pro GG articles on Breitbart today, one by James Fudge's favorite "quotes out of context" writer Milo. Amazingly Milo claims GG is winning.10/22/2014 - 8:13am
quiknkoldhavent seen any apologies from the "Other Side" except from Boogie, and he made a video, and I saw him give his apology and I accepted it.10/22/2014 - 8:03am
Michael ChandraWhich usually is "the guy is an ass and I don't really believe it, but fine, benefit for the doubt THIS time and no second chances."10/22/2014 - 7:58am
Michael ChandraI'll accept his apology for something that, no matter whether a joke or serious is way out of line, just as much as I accept apologies from others.10/22/2014 - 7:57am
Michael ChandraRefusing to accept an apology that is done through the same medium and does not sound horribly half-assed is just plain childish.10/22/2014 - 7:56am
Michael ChandraPeople on 'both' sides of the debate have screwed up and apologized without such acts. Where's your criticism on the other side?10/22/2014 - 7:56am
E. Zachary KnightReason posted the second part of their GamerGate story: http://reason.com/archives/2014/10/22/gamergate-part-2-videogames-meet-feminis/10/22/2014 - 7:51am
quiknkoldagain, I dont accept any apology when I cant see their face when they give it to me. He needs to do a video, or do something positive like charity or whatever.10/22/2014 - 7:15am
Michael ChandraBut that's the case with every apology, isn't it?10/22/2014 - 5:57am
Michael ChandraDon't get me wrong. The guy from Gawker screwed up, and he acknowledged that and apologized. Whether people believe him is a second thing.10/22/2014 - 5:57am
Michael ChandraTranslation: "We screwed up but are denying it by saying we don't support groups that bully despite us doing exactly what such a group wanted us to do."10/22/2014 - 5:51am
 

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