Thursday , August 11 2022

Mexico uses video games to treat patients with neuronal damage


Mexican scientists are immersed in the development of video games focused on the rehabilitation of neurological damage in patients who have suffered cerebral vascular disease (SCD) in order to recover in a more intuitive way. fun

It is located in one of the laboratories of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where these video games were created by a nostalgic retro aesthetic reminder of the Super Mario Bros. hands and hands, a fun repetition exercise that ends with the return of neuronal association.

During an Efe visit to the Laboratory for research and development of interactive applications for neurorehabilitation, some screens show different games: they try to make sandwiches, the other is a classic platform game, and the last moves the patient to the football field.

Ana Maria Eskalante, Laboratory Coordinator, says the idea is to "use position and movement sensors to track people's movements and simulate rehabilitation therapies that therapists usually use to treat patients with neurological impairment."

However, this is a complementary treatment, which brings news to be more fun.

Consequently, there is still no convincing evidence to confirm whether he is potentiating normal therapy. Of course, it's much more fun now.

Although the idea of ​​a lab to try to deal with various neurological diseases, so far they are focused on one, EVC.

Because each time in Mexico there will be more elderly people – the average occurrence of the disease is 73 years – the incidence of illness will increase.

EVC affects the motor skills of humans, usually as a result of a blockade of blood flow that affects one of the two hemispheres of the brain.

As if it were a mirror, when the left hemisphere was damaged, the consequences are reflected on the right hemisphere and vice versa.

According to Escalante, for practical purposes, the body is the one that feels the cerebral blockade that manifests "hemiparesis, that is, half of the body is very limited in its sensitivity and mobility."

However, before this evil brain has its own tricks to succeed, in this case its strategy is called neuronal plasticity.

This means that "neurons neighboring dead neurons begin to try to establish connections."

At this point, "appropriate and precise movements" (such as those that promote this kind of video game) must be made so that the neural mobility is recovered and the patient recovered.

In this recovery, time is crucial and this is where video games play a key role; Once the risk phase is completed, a patient can install a video game in his home.

"The idea of ​​video games is that it is something that a patient could take home and thus solve two very important problems in recovery, and that's the opportunity and frequency," explained the scientist.

The rehabilitation phase is often tired, followed by mood disorders and it is not easy to deal with it.

In spite of everything, UNAM scientists entrust the mission of "Sandvich Mania", "Charlie's Scape" (Super Mario Bros style) and "Criminal Madness".

In the first, a user, from a sensor called the Leap Motion, must move the finger of the hand that is displayed on the screen to put some ingredient in a sandwich.

"Charlie's Scape" is also based on the movement of the hand, but this time they have to open and close so that the fearless Charlie protagonist games advance and jump.

Finally, "Criminal Madness" uses a motion capture sensor called Kinnect, commercially used in Microsoft's Xbox consoles.

Here the user becomes a soccer goalkeeper and runs all the hands towards the direction indicated on the screen to stop the balls that they want to score in the goal.

But not only does the user use these games, but the physician's figure is still fundamental when considering the patient's progression from his therapeutic interface.

According to Escalante, although it is still a development project, the video game here acts as a medical prescription, the one that doctors now need to improve patients.

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