Most people play video games for entertainment purposes or just to save time, but the games have also been useful in a variety of medical settings. Personalized interactive digital experiences have helped patients fight the symptoms of PTSD and even train doctors to be more effective at work.
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have developed a retro-style arcade game specifically designed for stroke survivors. The game, which has since been tested on more than 30 volunteers, has proven its effectiveness in promoting muscle control and increasing the mobility of people with reduced mobility for decades.
Scientists have developed a specialized device called myoelectric computer interface, associated with a simple video game that requires players to move the cursor to a specific point on the screen.
Stroke victims with reduced mobility in the arms usually suffer from loss of muscle control in their arms. When they try to move their arms, the limb muscles tend to fight each other, resulting in a condition called coactivation or co-constriction.
The researchers isolated the muscles responsible for this disease in each participant and then monitored the electrical activators of the muscle that are sent from the brain. They used this information to contribute to the game and trained participants’ brains to activate the muscles independently. This is known as “decoupling” and is crucial for a stroke victim who regains the mobility of its limbs.
The team discovered that after a session with the game, participants demonstrated greater mobility in their recycled members. Most of the volunteers who participated in the experiment continued to demonstrate greater arm mobility even a month later.
“The beauty of this is that even if the benefit does not persist for months or years, patients equipped with a portable device could perform a” tuning “session every two weeks, every month or whenever ‘they need it,’ said Dr Marc Slutzky, lead author. of the study, he said in a statement. “In the long run, I imagine having flexible and completely wireless electrodes that an occupational therapist could quickly apply in his office and that patients could go home and train alone.” A single workout takes just one hour and can bring huge benefits to stroke patients. In the future, similar applications could be provided to victims shortly after their stroke to improve their recovery and rehabilitation.