News Stories

Gaming, 3D Virtual Reality Helps Stroke Victims Recover

[Philip Lelyveld comment: NOT stereo 3D, but related]

[Written by Sy Kraft , Medical News Today]

So it turns out that recovery is easier than you may think from stroke. Stoke is a horrible experience for those that survive that often leaves one debilitated with the loss of sectional motor function. However, a new study published in the leading medical journal dedicated to the subject, states that virtual interaction, such as video games, 3-D movies and such can help trigger the mind to remember motor skills and get back on the road to perceived normalcy.

The latest studies estimate 55% to 75% of patients who survive a stroke will struggle with motor deficits, including paralysis, weakness, and trouble with coordination.

Mindy Levin, PhD, a professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal explains:

“This technology gets people to work more and harder and be more creative. And all of that taps into the brain’s plasticity and helps the brain change, and that’s what we’re trying to do. What we know about brain plasticity is that it takes so much exercise and so much commitment to make the brain change. The health care system isn’t set up to give all the therapy that is necessary, and I don’t think we’re meeting the potential.”

Here is how the study went:

The scientists searched three medical libraries for studies on virtual technologies in stroke patients. Twelve studies were included in the analysis. Participants in the studies ranged in age from 26 to 88. Researchers found that participants using virtual therapies had about a 15% improvement in motor impairment and a 20% improvement in motor function in the arm affected by the stroke.

Levin continues:

“(Virtual experiences) will help us to meet that challenge of delivering more therapy to patients in a friendly way that’s more accessible to people.”

Physical therapy and rehab is an important part of recovery for many victims of physical and emotional tragedy. Getting patients motivated is difficult. Using video games, researchers and medical professionals found that they can push patients harder, and help them enjoy therapy more.

Here a list of top games that help rehab and the mal conditions they are suspected to improve on according to

  • World Trade Center: Researchers have used virtual reality to treat people who suffer from September 11th post traumatic stress disorder.
  • MindHabits Booster: This game’s purpose is to help people feel good about themselves.
  • Lumosity: The brain training games in Lumosity will help patients reclaim their brain power.
  • Motor Vehicle Therapy: A Clinic at the University of Buffalo has created a treatment to help victims of major accidents deal with their trauma.
  • Rainbow Stress Reduction Games: Using these games, you can help patients improve their stress level and relax.
  • Half Life and Unreal Tournament: Researchers have found that using games such as Half Life and Unreal Tournament offer therapy for people with phobias, including spider-laden environments, heights, and claustrophobic spaces.
  • Speech and language therapy: This resource allows children and adults to use online video games for speech therapy.
  • Re-Mission: Kids can play this game that will teach them about cancer, and improve their hand eye coordination at the same time.
  • Self Esteem Games: By playing one of these games, you’ll be able to change negative thought patterns that often result in insecurity.
  • The Journey to Wild Divine: This adventure gaming series can help patients improve breathing and meditation techniques that can be therapeutic.
  • Feed the Monster: Use this game to help teach patients about proper nutrition.
  • SMART Brain Games: This neurofeedback system is available for popular consoles including the PlayStation and XBox.
  • Speech Therapy Games: Learn emotion vocabulary and more through these games that offer fun speech therapy.

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