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Video Games in Stroke Rehabilitation


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The article was printed in the Stroke Association’s free quarterly publication “Stroke Matters“, and is a discussion of the potential benefits of using video games in stroke rehabilitation. Many thanks to the publication for giving me the opportunity to write an article for them and also for kindly allowing me to publish the article on my blog and SlideShare.

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Video Games in Stroke Rehabilitation

  1. 1. Video The cost of systems varies depending on the technology games in used. Expensive systems such as those which use virtual reality technology can cost over £10,000 stroke and may only be sutable in a clinical setting. However, rehabilitation emphasis is increasingly being placed on creating viable home rehabilitation by using off-the-shelf James Burke, PhD Candidate technology such as low-cost in Game Development for webcams or haptic joysticks. Post-stroke Rehabilitation, Although large studies looking at University of Ulster the effectiveness of such technology solutions have yet to In recent years, researchers be carried out in the UK it is likely have started looking at the that we will see projects coming potential benefits of using forward for health technology video games in stroke assessment by UK agencies in the rehabilitation. near future. Technology and games can There have been many studies offer a novel. safe and investigating the use of ABOVE Games using low-cost technology have exciting potential for effective customisable training environment home-based rehabilitation technology in stroke rehabilitation which can maintain engagement therapy. A review of the field by levels and boost patient cognitive impairments. Well- to accommodate a variety of player Cameirao et al1 confirms that motivation. Systems typically designed games are also easily abilities. technology can have a positive comprise rehabilitation gaming configured, allowing people with These systems are not designed effect on stroke rehabilitation, with software with an input device varying degrees of impaired with the intention of replacing many studies showing improved (e.g. joystick, motion-sensing movements to engage effectively traditional therapy; rather they are motor function recovery. There camera. data-gloves, in the rehabilitation process. designed to be used in addition to have been few studies electromagnetic sensors), an Good game design allows therapy. Therapists will still be investigating the use of video output device (e.g. monitor. repetitive movements to be required to assess patients and games in stroke rehabilitation; projector. head-mounted display) presented in a more challenging perhaps recommend particular however,feedback from initial and a computer. In addition to and rewarding way than is possible games. Therapist involvement to studies has been positive - custom-built systems, commercial with traditional therapy. For monitor progress and set new people with stroke do find these gaming consoles such as the example, reach actions could challenges will also be necessary. rehabilitation games enjoyable Nintendo Wii have also been used translate to a game where players Should such systems be available and motivational.2 _ in stroke rehabilitation studies. are required to touch one target in hospital stroke units, for The games used in these object (of many objects) on the example, It might be possible that References systems emphasise repetitive screen. To introduce an aspect of 1 Monca S Cameirao. Sergi Bermidez i newly diagnosed stroke patients Badia; Paul F. M. J. Verschure.Virtual Reality movements similar to those challenge the target object could can engage in useful and Based Upper Extretremity Rehabilitation performed in traditional therapy. be 'active' for only a few seconds stimulating therapy when their following Stroke: a Review. Joumal of such as reach. grasp, manipulation before a new target is selected. therapists are working with other CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation, Vol 1 Issue 1, Spring 2008 and release for upper-limb One of the advantages of this patients. There is also great interest 2 James W. Burke, Michael D. J. McNeill, rehabilitation. These games are approach is that all the game in evaluating the technology for Darryl K. Charles, Philip J. Morrow, Jacqui H. often simple and easy to play. This elements can be programmed to home use as this could lead to Crosbie, Suzanne M. McDonough, is important since a person with change. For example, the size of 'Optimising engagement for stroke patients being able to play rehabilitation using serious games', The Visual stroke may not have played a the objects and the length of time rehabilitation games outside of Computer, Vol 25,Issue 12. p1085-1099. video game before or may have they stay 'active' can be changed their therapy sessions. ~2009