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Rehabilitating Stroke Victims With Video Games

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There are many therapies used for rehabilitating stroke patients such as constraint-induced movement therapy, mental practice and more. Now it looks like we are about to see another, quite different approach. Doctor Debbie Rand from Tel Aviv University has been looking into interactive video games as a new therapy for helping stroke victims with their recovery.

Compared to traditional therapy, using video games is affordable and the study seems to have shown that it is both fun and effective for the patients.

According to Rand, “Interactive game consoles require players to move continuously to interact with the virtual games”. The study was conducted with two groups of 20 people each, with one group getting traditional therapy and the patients in the other group allowed to play video games using Xbox 360, PlayStation and Nintendo Wii consoles.

The study found out that the patients who played games were doing double the number of arm movements during therapy sessions than those who were in traditional therapy, and the gamers were also doing “goal-directed” movements. Playing games is obviously more fun than repeating exercises, and therefore patients are more likely to continue their rehabilitation.

Furthermore, there are also cognitive benefits with playing games, something that we have already heard before. And because it was a group therapy there was also the effect of a good social life, which of course is good for rehab. Rand is currently planning to study the effectiveness of video games when it is played by patients at home.

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