Video games are not something typically associated with the elderly. The standard picture of a gamer, is a somewhat anti-social teenager who gets his/her kicks by battling mythical monsters, in a dingy room, surrounded by empty fast food boxes.
But a study at St Michael’s Hospital suggests the Wii and Playstation need to be moved into gramps’ room.
Re-connecting the wires after a stroke
The key to overcoming damage following a stroke, is to persuade the nerves that have taken a knock due to oxygen starvation, to re-establish the connections.
Reconnecting is about building confidence and this normally comes with practice. Victim’s of stroke usually receive several sessions of physiotherapy or occupational therapy, which strives to help the brain heal, through building new connections (neuroplasticity).
Hard wiring new connections is a two step process :
- Establish the new routing.
- Strengthen the new routing by doing it over and over and over again.
Practice makes perfect
A session or two, under the supervision of a professional, often lays the foundation for the new pathway, but it is not enough to coax the fragile nerves back into gear.
The new routing requires constant repetition. But the type of repetition required is more than just superficial use. The practise needs to be challenging, task-specific and novel. This kind of practice is difficult to obtain at home unaided.
Video games are able to provide the right kind of practice
Providing challenging, task-specific and novel scenarios is the underlying premise of video games, making them perfect for practising.
A review of the medical literature, confirms that virtual reality gaming works to build upper arm strength and mobility in victim’s of stroke.
It is a relatively inexpensive and fun way to get damaged bits and pieces moving following a stoke.
So hook gramps up
A round of virtual golf, will drive the neurotransmitters across the greens and bring down that stroke handicap.
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