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Computer Games Help Patients Recover From Stroke

We have known that for quite some time. However, scientists now also discovered that video games can support a recovery from paralysis after a stroke. According to an article published in the Journal of Neuro Engineering and Rehabilitation, computer simulations and techniques used by the film industry to produce computer-generated action can help restore lost function in an impaired arm.

The scientists stated that current training medical programs focus on regaining hand and arm movement separately, while computer games and robotic training aids can address both simultaneously. In the study, the games Plasma Pong and Hammer Task were used to improve hand/arm coordination, accuracy and speed, while the Virtual Piano and Hummingbird Hunt simulations were applied to restore precision of grip and individual finger motion.

Two to three hour training periods over eight days apparently resulted in substantial improvement for stroke patients. The scientists said that all patients had better stability of the damaged limb, and greater smoothness and efficiency of movement. Deeper analysis showed evidence that they also had improved control over their fingers and were quicker at all tasks in the test. However, video gaming does not seem to help your motor skills of an uninjured arm: The researchers said that those arms/hands showed no improvement at all.

"Patients who played these games showed an average improvement in their standard clinical scores of 20-22% over the eight days," project leader Alma Merians said. "These results show that computer games could be an important tool in the recovery of paralyzed limbs after a stroke."