The rehab needed to recover from a stroke can be pretty grueling for a patient. The therapy is intense, and after all that work, most stroke patients never fully recover all of their motor skills.
Dr. John Krakauer, the director of Johns Hopkins’s Center for the Study of Motor Learning and Brain Repair, says that the disparity is due to the rehab techniques. According to Krakauer, rehab often focuses on survival skills, like the motor function needed to hold eating utensils. The rehab doesn't take into full account research about how our brains work. Krakauer has an alternative plan; treating stroke patients with playing video games.
It may sound far fetched, but the results are producing far better outcomes. In the video shown here, you can see a clip of how video games are helping stroke patients heal their brains. Studies have shown that if you can induce intensive rehab for your brain shortly after a stroke, the brain has a better chance of healing and gaining more of its lost function. These video games are helping stroke patients stimulate their brain and take advantage of its plasticity after trauma.
Using gaming as therapy is rooted in scientific analysis.
Jane McGonigal, a famous game researcher, has spoken for years about the benefits of gaming and the affects that it has on our brains. In 2009, while writing her book, Reality Is Broken, Jane suffered a head trauma. The resulting concussion did not heal within a few days, and after a few months, the trauma was causing her pain and depression. To aid her recovery, she invented a game superbetter which worked to help heal her brain. She wrote a book by the same name that chronicled her journey. The research included in Super Better shows how gaming improves our ability to heal, to avoid addiction, and many other roads to wellness.
Dr. Krakauer has started clinical studies in his specialized video game treatment. He is convinced that with the right cognitive motor interface, the result will be better wellness in many areas including depression and congestive heart failure. This is an area teaming with possibilities.
It appears its time to take playing games more seriously.