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Video Games Found to Improve Mobility After A Stroke

February 15, 2018

A study conducted by researchers at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastian and the London Imperial College analyzed the architecture of brain injuries in 167 stroke patients for over three years.

The work conducted in the study proposes a new therapy for the mobility problems caused by ischemic strokes; this consists of complimenting the physical treatments received by patients with therapies in order to overcome attention deficit disorders, such as working with video games.

Researchers understood mobility problems suffered by patients with cerebral infarction better after accurately analyzing the patterns of brain injuries.

“Patients with brain injuries in attention control areas also suffer motility control problems, even when the movement required by the task is very simple.” Said BCBL expert David Soto.

Scientists specifically focused on examining the extent and location of brain injuries in the 167 stroke patients. Through a ‘mapping’ that was performed with magnetic resonance, the affected part and the type and size of the lesion were identified and the connectivity between different areas of the brain were analyzed.

Patients were subjected to various motor tasks—some as simple as grabbing an object with force. After analyzing these tests, researchers found that some of these tasks seemed to be “impaired” in those who had injuries in the area of the brain used to do the task.

Before this study, Soto explained that the control and movement of the attention control aspect were thought to be “different systems” with a small relation to each other. Treatments that were enabled for patients with cognitive injuries could also not serve for those with mobility issues. 

"We have to know first how our brain controls and moves to design effective therapeutic tools for stroke patients and specific therapies for each individual depending on where the injury has occurred," concluded Soto.
The next step in order to confirm these results will be to establish a clinical trial with stroke victims that are suffering motor skill disorders and divide them into two groups. One of these groups will be undergoing physiotherapy treatment and the other would undergo complementary cognitive training.