How Video Games Are Revolutionizing Rehab

How Video Games Are Revolutionizing Rehab


WOMAN: There you go, excellent!
CLARK POWELL:
After suffering a stroke, Nancy Henckle lost much
of the use of her right hand. To make matters
worse, she never got rehab and now often struggles
with everyday routines. But in just one week,
that’s changed.
NANCY HENCKLE: Oh my gosh,
I noticed that I went to the grocery yesterday,
I reached up, I could get things. It’s like
it’s become unfrozen.
POWELL: What made such
a difference for Nancy was this video game.
Using a common game console, researchers developed
an uncommon approach to rehab. First on the
affected hand they put a glove with sensors
to control the game, and on the other is a
mitt that prevents patients from relying on
their healthy hand.
DR. LYNNE GAUTHIER: This really promotes the person to use
their affected
side for all of their daily activities. So
it really can be conceptualized as boot camp
for the affected arm.
POWELL: Lynne Gauthier and a multidisciplinary team designed
the
game at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical
Center using what’s known as constraint induced
movement therapy. Constraining a patient’s
healthy limb during rehab has proven more
effective than regular therapy.
DR. GAUTHIER: Much more effective. And it promotes long
term gains in motor functioning.
It’s just not available — less than 1% of patients
actually are able to receive it.
POWELL: So with this video game, she’s taking it to them.
And in the comfort of their own home, patients
are seeing results. In early tests, they averaged
a staggering 1500 movements an hour, often
without realizing it.
DR. GAUTHIER: We always
ask them, “How long do you think you played?”
And participants will say, “Oh, you know,
maybe 10 minutes,” and some of them have played
40 minutes at that point.
POWELL: Thanks to
a type of rehab that isn’t just sweat and
tears, but fun and games. At Ohio State’s
Wexner Medical Center, this is Clark Powell
reporting.

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