Could playing video games help with your rehabilitation after stroke?

Written by admin on May 15th, 2012

We are looking for adult volunteers who have had a stroke to help in our research

Stroke frequently damages the area of the brain controlling movement; as a consequence there are thousands of people with weakness down one side of their body. Upper limb problems are common after stroke and this has a major impact because everyday activities often require two hands.

The brain can relearn control of the weak arm, but this needs frequent therapy over many months. We believe that would ideally be undertaken at home.

Together with a professional gaming studio we have developed some video-games to be played at home, which provide highly motivating therapy for relearning arm and hand movements. In this research funded by the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust we plan to analyse information about patient’s performance of arm and hand movements during the video games to see if this can provide feedback to the patient on their progress and allow their therapist to monitor their patient’s progress via the internet.

If the research is successful this will enable effective rehabilitation of arm and hand movements to be delivered at times and places to suit patients, whilst still maintaining expert supervision from a therapist.

If you live within Newcastle, Northumberland or North Tyneside and have hemiplegia  (weakness affecting one side of your body ) after a stroke you may be able to help us.

We will lend you a laptop, the games and the controllers so that you can play them at home several times a week for 3 months.

We will visit you at home 8 times over the three months (or you may wish to come to your local clinic) so we can assess any improvement in your arm and hand function. You will also need to visit Newcastle University on one occasion at a time to suit you where we will record you ability to move your hands and arms using specialized video cameras.

We can arrange times and dates which are best for you and your family.

If you would like an information pack please contact Janice Pearse, Senior Research Occupational Therapist, Tel. (0191) 282 5967, email: janice.pearse@newcastle.ac.uk