May 272011
 
Screenshot of Plasma Pong

Image via Wikipedia

Computer games are not just for kids.

New research published inJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, a BioMed Central open access journal, shows that computer games can speed up and improve a patient’s recovery from paralysis after a stroke.

It is often difficult for stroke victims to recover hand and arm movement, and 80-90% of sufferers still have problems six months later. Scientists in America looked at a group of people who had impaired use of one arm after a stroke and found that computer simulations and cutting edge techniques, used by the film industry to produce computer generated action, could restore lost function.

While many current training regimes concentrate on regaining hand and arm movement separately, the computer games and robotic training aids used in this trial attempted to simultaneously improve function of both together. 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 helped to restore precision of grip and individual finger motion.

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