This Kinect Game Is Designed To Rehabilitate Stroke Patients – And It Works

We're forced to assume the game somehow involves Riley, the Call of Duty dog.
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Over 325,000 suffer from Hemiparesis, a weakness or inability to move one side of the body, which can occur after a stroke. Since rehab can be an incredibly difficult and expensive process, researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center have come up with a new at-home healing processes – and it involves a game for the Kinect.

Stroke victims who suffer from hemiparesis often have difficulty executing basic functions like eating or dressing; sadly, the most effective form of treatment, Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (or CI) is only able to be administered to less than 1% of affected patients.

“Lack of access, transportation and cost are contributing barriers to receiving CI therapy,” said Lynne Gauthier, an assistant professor at OSU’s College of Medicine. “To address this disparity, our team developed a 3D gaming system to deliver CI therapy to patients in their homes.”

So, with a neuroscientist, clinicians, computer scientists, electrical engineers, and biomechanist on board, Gauthier’s team developed a game for the Kinect; the patient slips on a movement-tracking glove to their affected side, weighs down the extremities on the non-affected side, and starts swinging away. The game takes place in a river canyon, and patients can row down the river, swat bats, grab bottles, fish, and find treasure chests.

“This novel model of therapy has shown positive results for individuals who have played the game. Gains in motor speed, as measured by the Wolf Motor Function Test, rival those made through traditional CI therapy,” said Gauthier. “It provides intense high quality motor practice for patients, in their own homes. Patients have reported they have more motivation, time goes by quicker and the challenges are exciting and not so tedious.”

If the initial trial is successful, the game could be expanded to treat patients with brain injuries, celebral palsy, and MS.
Who said the Kinect wasn’t good for anything?

(via Ohio State University, image via OSU Multimedia Newsroom)

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Sam Maggs
Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.