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Stroke patients use video games to recover

Nintendo Wii and Playstations are going from households to hospitals.  The popular gaming systems have been shown to help people stay active with special workout games and devices, but now researchers believe it can help people recovering from a stroke.

A study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association looked at the upper body strength that is built through the use of video games.  

Many stroke patients, up to 75%, have loss of mobility in their arms.  Traditional therapy provides ‘modest results’ but patients that used video games to build muscles were five times more likely to show mobility improvement.

Researchers looked at data collected in 12 different studies that involved video game therapy and muscle building in patients that had a mild to moderate stroke.

Doctors say therapy needs to be challenging, repetitive, and interesting for a patient to get the most out of it and this study shows video games meet all of those requirements. 

Researchers say more studies are needed before they prescribe a Wii or a Playstation for every hospital, but the Canadian study does prove that gaming is safe for stroke patients.  Only one side effect was reported.  Some patients said they felt a little nauseous while playing.  

About strokes
According to the American Stroke Association, stoke is the third leading cause of death.  

A stoke occurs when a blood vessel, that carries oxygen to the brain, is blocked.  When that happens the brain is starved of oxygen creating warning signs like numbness in the face, arm or leg.  A stroke can also lead to confusion, blurred vision, and a sudden headache.

If any of these symptoms occur, emergency medical services should be called immediately.  If it’s possible doctors also suggest taking note of what time the symptoms start.  If stroke patients are seen by a doctor within three hours of the onset of symptoms there is a medication that can be administered that can reduce long term problems.