Games used to treat diseases

A recent study performed at the Indiana University School of Medicine suggests that playing games on a regular basis may be a more enjoyable and approachable form of physical therapy for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and stroke victims.

New games heal the sick and teach the children

Researchers hooked up gaming consoles in the homes of three adolescent patients and asked the subjects to exercise their hands by playing video games for thirty minutes a day, five days a week. The subjects were equipped with custom-fitted gaming gloves and consoles that allowed researchers to monitor input and adjust the difficulty of certain tasks remotely to increase the challenge (and thus the workout) a player faces.

Gaming rehab has a number of advantages over traditional therapy, chiefly that it is more enjoyable and easier for a patient to put the required work in every week without the need to leave the house or work within a therapist's office schedule. At the end of the study, all three adolescents showed significant improvement in their ability to lift, grasp and control objects with the wounded hand.

New brainwave game teaches kids to Play Attention

Have trouble paying attention or sitting still for more than five minutes at a time? UK-based Games For Life is selling a rehab system that trains ADHD patients to focus using video games.

The "Play Attention" system consists of custom software and a shiny red helmet equipped with EEG sensors capable of interpreting a user's brainwaves. All "Play Attention" games are controlled using player brainwaves, encouraging gamers to focus on the task at hand and penalizing inattention by shutting off the game whenever the mind wanders.

The program is intended to be played at least 2-3 times a week over 12 months, and after just 12 weeks a test group of ten students diagnosed with ADHD showed noticeable improvement in their ability to concentrate. Previously available only in a lab setting, Play Attention goes on sale next month for home use at roughly US$3,000.

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