As per a new study, it has been seen that virtual reality games may help in the speedy recovery of patients who have suffered a stroke. Games which challenge balance might help stroke patients to get back to their feet faster. According to the senior researcher of the study, Dr. Hillel Finestone, the virtual reality games might turn out to be a comparatively cheaper way to improve the patients’ ability to walk and balance after a stroke.
Dr. Finestone, who directs Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital, based in Ottawa, had conducted this small study along with others. The study was done with 59 patients, who had suffered a stroke recently. They were randomly divided into two groups. Patients in both the groups took part in a set of 10 to 12 virtual reality gaming sessions, under the guidance of therapists. These sessions lasted for 20 minutes each and were played for 3 weeks. While one of the groups played the games standing, the other one sat through the game. The games which were played included snowboarding, soccer goaltending, etc. and required the standing patients to shift their weight by leaning and moving to succeed.
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At the end of the survey, it was seen that the flexibility of the patients in both the groups got better, but those who were standing, got more benefits. They were able to walk a little more distance and move a bit faster than those who played the games sitting throughout the study.
After the therapy, people in the standing group added 111 feet in two minutes on an average to the distance they could walk, whereas those in the sitting group added 70 feet. The difference in the distance could mean that a patient recovering from stroke could be able to walk from his or her living room to the kitchen.
Finestone said that the study showed that stroke patients can improve from their situation with these games. Their balance improved significantly. The study shows that virtual reality games might have a good potential in the recuperation of stroke patients but it is not the ultimate solution.
Video games which were once just a means of fun for kids and teenagers are now being used for various recuperation programs. Other studies done earlier showed that virtual reality as well as augmented reality games were helpful for patients recovering from brain injury or for kids suffering from cerebral palsy.
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