Category Archives: GamesForHealth

Chris Rickert: Kindness at your gamer’s fingertips

Chris Rickert: Kindness at your gamer’s fingertips

UW Madison is, I think, the best institution on the planet addressing how gaming is applicable to and useful for many things other than just the fun of playing a game. The article is a snide, skeptical journalist’s take, still worth a read. A snippet:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving two UW-Madison researchers a $1.39 million grant to develop two video games to help teach eighth-graders compassion, empathy, cooperation, mental focus, self-regulation, kindness and altruism.

 

I can’t help but wonder, wouldn’t a puppy work just as well, and be a heck of a lot cheaper?

 

Besides, if your kid is going to be a mass murderer, derivatives trader or some other empathy-less sociopath, isn’t that mold pretty much cast by the time he’s 13 or 14?

Advertisements

Video games help autistic students in classrooms

Video games help autistic students in classrooms

USA Today coverage, nice:

In real life, 9-year-old Michael has autism, as do his two classmates. All three have long struggled with the mental, physical and social rigors of school. All three now get help most days from video-game avatars — simplified digital versions of themselves doing things most autistic children don’t generally do. In Michael’s case, he’s recording “social stories” videos that remind him how to act. In his classmates’ cases — their parents asked that they not be identified — they’re playing games that help with coordination, body awareness and cooperation, all challenges for kids on the autism spectrum.

 

Can off-the-shelf video games spark a breakthrough in treating autism? That’s the question researchers are asking as educators quietly discover the therapeutic uses of motion-controlled sensors. The devices are popular with gamers: Microsoft this week said it had sold more than 19 million Kinect motion-sensor units since introducing it in November 2010.

Now autism researchers, teachers and therapists are installing them in classrooms and clinics, reporting promising results for a fraction of the price of typical equipment. Could a teacher armed with a $300 Xbox and a $10 copy of Double Fine Happy Action Theater do as much good as months of intensive therapy?

Neuroscientists develop video game for stroke recovery

Neuroscientists develop video game for stroke recovery

After a stroke, it is often possible — with months of therapy and determination — for the brain to relearn how to control a weakened limb. Finding the resources (therapist, finances, time) can be the bigger hurdle.

Enter Circus Challenge, the first in a coming suite of action video games designed by Newcastle University stroke experts and the new company Limbs Alive to provide extra in-home therapy.

“Eighty percent of patients do not regain full recovery of arm and hand function and this really limits their independence and ability to return to work,” pediatric neuroscience professor Janet Eyre at Newcastle, who set up Limbs Alive to produce the games, said in a news release.

“Patients need to be able to use both their arms and hands for most everyday activities such as doing up a zip, making a bed, tying shoe laces, unscrewing a jar. With our video game, people get engrossed in the competition and action of the circus characters and forget that the purpose of the game is therapy.”

Research: Active Play Video Games May Benefit Children with Cerebral Palsy

Research: Active Play Video Games May Benefit Children with Cerebral Palsy

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) can greatly benefit from playing “active play” video games – as opposed to the kind that don’t require any kind of physical activity. According to researchers from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Toronto.

Children with CP that play traditional games face an even greater risk of being overweight or developing health issues such as diabetes or musculoskeletal disorders than other children. But researchers say that video games such as those found on Nintendo’s Wii can provide an opportunity to promote light to moderate physical activity in children with CP, and may even have a role to play in rehabilitation therapy. Their research was published online today in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

“Active video games (AVG) provide a low-cost, commercially available system that can be strategically selected to address specific therapeutic goals,” says lead investigator Elaine Biddiss, PhD, of Toronto’s Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and the University of Toronto, Canada. “While our results did not show that AVG game play can be regarded as a replacement for more vigorous physical activity or muscle strengthening, we found that some games may provide targeted therapy focused on specific joints or movements.”