Can Video Games Help With Brain Surgery Rehabilitation?

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Do video games help recovering brain surgery patients? As reported in an article on Gizmodo, video games aided the recovery of Eric Levasseur, a patient who had to undergo 7 brain surgeries in an eleven-month period to stop his epileptic grand mal seizures. Eric’s side effects after the surgeries included memory loss, impaired speech, and short-term memory impairment.

According to the article, Eric’s doctor recommended brain training games on Luminosity, but the patient found them too difficult and too much like work, and elected to play Destiny, a multiplayer online game instead, with his doctor’s approval. Eric was able to play for increasingly longer periods without any noticeable impairment, and soon he was mapping out strategies and earning a reputation among players, as stated in the article.

In the game of Destiny, a player must have friends to go on Raids, as discussed in an article on the Daily Dot. As Eric had difficulty communicating, Raids with other players were a problem for him. When Eric’s wife, Brittany, included that information in a Reddit post, the Destiny community organized Raiding parties to assist him. As covered in the Gizmodo article, Eric has a long recovery road ahead, but playing Destiny could help make it shorter, and easier to endure.

There is evidence to suggest that video games can help victims recover from injuries to the brain. A Medpage Today article reports on a study conducted in Vienna in which TBI patients used video games to effectively improve their coordination. According to the article, researchers noted significantly improved scores for gait, balance, and functional reach in patients who participated in a virtual therapy session supported by Microsoft Xbox Kinect. Researchers also found that coordination, dynamic stability, and precision from baseline were greatly improved by this video game therapy.

The Games for Health Journal published an abstract of a structured literature review of the use of video games and virtual reality for rehabilitation after TBI. These researchers concluded that, although the evidence that virtual reality helps improve motor and cognitive function is limited, this approach does have the potential to provide alternative rehabilitation therapy for TBI patients.

The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association offers a number of tools and aids for recovering brain injury patients. Links to various games are provided as helpful resources. Luminosity is listed and described as brain training that is effective. According to the association, Luminosity can make you smarter and more mentally fit, regardless of your age. The association also provides links to arcade games, strategy games, card games, and word games among its many resources.

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