Posts Tagged ‘Bob Hone’

What do videogames have to do with Parkinson’s disease? Quite a lot, actually. According to recent research, active video games like Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Fit and others can help increase strength, cardiovascular fitness, confidence and mental awareness, and decrease reaction time in subjects who train with them. Why are these areas particularly important? They’re the main risk factors for falling—which is primarily what people with Parkinson’s die from. When I interviewed Dr. Adam Noah, Technical Director of the ADAMCenter and MoCap (motion capture) lab at Long Island University, he had this to say:

One of the major things is falling down can cause a cascade of events, which really ultimately can lead to death… they fall down, they break their hip, complications add up, and that’s eventually what puts them in a home. And if you can reduce the risk of falling, you can actually prolong somebody’s life.”

By training subjects on DDR, his group discovered improvement in all the risk factors, which should reduce the number of falls they have.

In related news, California-based Red Hill Studios was awarded two NIH grants (totaling $1.1 million) to develop and test videogames for treating Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. In a joint press release from Red Hill Studios and the UCSF School of Nursing, here’s what Bob Hone, Red Hill Studios’ creative director, said about the grants:

These two grants are the start of what may become a massive new area of health care. The emergence of low-cost motion sensing technologies has created an entirely new type of rehabilitation: physical therapy games. As a baby-boomer with a bad back, I know firsthand that physical therapy can be boring and tedious. These games will help make rehab fun and productive.”

There’s a concept for you: fun and productive rehab. If either of these two groups demonstrate even half of what their research promises, they will have proven beyond a doubt that videogames can change, and even save, lives.

Check out the ADAMCenter here

… and Red Hill Studios here.

Read the complete Red Hill Studios press release here.

Learn more about the serious games initiative here

… and Games For Health here.

Gearing up for Games For Health ’11 in Boston, tomorrow through Thursday. Of particular interest are several sessions addressing the effects of active videogames on people with Parkinson’s disease or acquired brain injury. For some time now, researchers have been delving into the ability of games like Wii Sports to treat neurological disorders and injuries. Among the presenters at G4H are Red Hill Studios and the ADAMCenter. Red Hill Studios (who received funding for a clinical trial from the NIH) and the School of Nursing at UCal San Francisco are developing games to treat Parkinson’s. The ADAMCenter is a research and teaching lab at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, focusing on human movement. Researchers there are looking at off-the-shelf games (Dance Dance Revolution, in particular) for neurological rehabilitation.

Learn more about Red Hill Studios here

… and the ADAMCenter here.

For more info about the G4H schedule, click here.