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A pilot study into the rehabilitative aspects of videogames has shown that custom-made games can aid hemiplegic cerebral palsy sufferers boost hand functions and forearm bone health.

The pilot involved placing remotely monitored videogame systems in the homes of three participants, who were outfitted with custom-made sensor gloves used to control on-screen action. Games for the pilot were also custom-developed for the program by Rutgers University [URL=http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112135042.htm]reports ScienceDaily[/URL]. Subjects were tasked with exercising their affected hand 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

The remotely monitored consoles (which appear to be PS3s) introduce a few new twists to this study; physical therapists can remotely monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary and patients are spared repeated trips outside the home in order to receive therapy. Patients can also use the devices at their leisure and are not tied to the schedule of a physical therapist or doctor. Not to mention that it's proabably a fun way for rehabbers to get their work in.

All three participants, who were adolescents, showed improved functionality in their affected hand, resulting in a greater ability to lift objects and increased range of motion in their fingers.

Lead author Meredith R. Golomb, M.D, M.Sc., an Indiana University School of Medicine associate professor of neurology, sees other uses for the technology in the future:

[INDENT]While these initial encouraging results were in teens with limited hand and arm function due to perinatal brain injury, we suspect using these games could similarly benefit individuals with other illness that affect movement, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, arthritis and even those with orthopedic injuries affecting the arm or hand.



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