Stroke therapy uses video games

Aug. 30, 2006 at 3:15 AM

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Engineers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have modified home video games that they say show promise for stroke rehabilitation.

The Rutgers hand rehabilitation system is an example of virtual rehabilitation, which combines virtual reality -- computer-generated interactive visual environments in which users control actions in a lifelike way -- with traditional therapy techniques. Virtual rehabilitation gives therapists new tools to do their jobs more effectively and engages patients who may otherwise lack interest or motivation to complete normal exercise regimens.

"Virtual reality is showing significant promise for promoting faster and more complete rehabilitation, but the cost of many systems is still prohibitive for widespread deployment in outpatient clinics or patients' homes," said Grigore Burdea, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"While it's essential to keep pursuing breakthrough technologies that will initially be costly, it's just as important that we find ways to make innovative treatments accessible to the many patients who need them."

The engineers are describing their work at the fifth International Workshop on Virtual Rehabilitation this week in New York City.

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