Video games may help stroke patients recover faster

Kevin Magna

April 12, 2011

A new study conducted in Canada found that video games may have a positive impact for patients who are recovering after a stroke. In fact, researchers found that they were up to five times more likely to show improvements in arm motor control. This could be an important discovery, as nearly three-quarters of stroke victims have problems with arm strength or coordination. 

"Virtual reality gaming is a promising and potentially useful alternative to enhance motor improvement after stroke," said Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, the lead author of the study. "It provides an affordable, enjoyable and effective alternative to intensify treatment and promote motor recovery after a stroke."

Patients who are recovering from a stroke at home may also want to consider installing additional safety measures, such as a personal emergency response system. This device enables users to instantly send a medical alert if they require assistance.

Video games – whether one is playing on the Playstation or a Wii – have a repetitive, goal-oriented motion, which is what a patient needs in order to regain control of their limbs after a debilitating stroke.