Videogaming Rehabilitation Studied in Stroke Patients

Use of self-managed, at-home video game rehabilitation compared to other methods for upper-extremity therapy

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MONDAY, March 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For adults after stroke, self-managed motor-gaming with behavioral telerehabilitation is as effective as in-clinic Constraint-Induced Movement (CI) therapy for improving motor function and everyday use of the arm, according to a study recently published in eClinicalMedicine.

Lynne V. Gauthier, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and colleagues randomly assigned community-dwelling adults with poststroke (more than six months) mild/moderate upper-extremity hemiparesis to receive one of four interventions during a three-week period: five hours of behaviorally focusing intervention plus gaming self-management (Self-Gaming), Self-Gaming with additional behaviorally focused telerehabilitation (Tele-Gaming), five hours of traditional motor-focused rehabilitation, or 35 hours of CI therapy. The primary outcomes assessed everyday arm use using the Motor Activity Log Quality of Movement (MAL) and motor speed/function using the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT). Of the 193 enrolled participants, 150 completed treatment and 115 completed follow-up.

The researchers found that clinically meaningful MAL gains were produced with Tele-Gaming and Self-Gaming, which were 1.0 and 0.8 points larger than traditional care, respectively. Compared with CI therapy, Self-Gaming was less effective (−0.4 points), while Tele-Gaming was similarly effective. Across all groups, six-month retention of MAL gains was 57 percent. Clinically meaningful gains in WMFT were similar across the groups; six-month retention of these gains was 92 percent.

"Results of this pragmatic trial support the need for a marked shift towards prioritizing behavioral intervention during neurologic motor rehabilitation, as upper limb motor practice can be effectively self-managed at home," the authors write.

Several authors cofounded Games That Move You, PBC, to commercialize the gaming technology utilized in this research.

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