Sunday, April 10, 2011

Video Games might Aid in Stroke Recovery

New research suggests playing video games may be an effective strategy in improving motor and cognitive skills in people who have had a stroke.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto said that stroke patients who played Playstation, Wii and other video games were up to five times more likely to show improvements in arm motor function compared to those who had standard therapy.

The researchers reviewed 12 existing studies that looked at the effects of electronic games on upper arm strength and mobility.

Between 55 and 75 percent of stroke survivors suffer motor problems in their arms. But conventional therapies like physiotherapy and occupational therapy are often not effective, according to the researchers.

Video games are “challenging, repetitive, task specific and novel,” the researchers said in a statement. They help the brain heal through a process called neuroplasticity, which the researchers define as the brain’s ability to remodel itself after injury by creating new nerve cell connections.

A report on the study is published in the April edition of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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