Posts Tagged Exergames
[ARTICLE] The effect of active video games on cognitive functioning in clinical and non-clinical populations: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – Full Text
Physically-active video games (‘exergames’) have recently gained popularity for leisure and entertainment purposes. Using exergames to combine physical activity and cognitively-demanding tasks may offer a novel strategy to improve cognitive functioning. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to establish effects of exergames on overall cognition and specific cognitive domains in clinical and non-clinical populations. We identified 17 eligible RCTs with cognitive outcome data for 926 participants. Random-effects meta-analyses found exergames significantly improved global cognition (g = 0.436, 95% CI = 0.18–0.69, p = 0.001). Significant effects still existed when excluding waitlist-only controlled studies, and when comparing to physical activity interventions. Furthermore, benefits of exergames where observed for both healthy older adults and clinical populations with conditions associated with neurocognitive impairments (all p < 0.05). Domain-specific analyses found exergames improved executive functions, attentional processing and visuospatial skills. The findings present the first meta-analytic evidence for effects of exergames on cognition. Future research must establish which patient/treatment factors influence efficacy of exergames, and explore neurobiological mechanisms of action.
Cognition can be broadly defined as the actions of the brain involved in understanding and functioning in our external environment (Hirschfeld and Gelman, 1994). As it is generally accepted that cognition requires multiple mental processes, this broader concept has been theoretically separated into multiple ‘cognitive domains’ (Hirschfeld and Gelman, 1994). Although definitions vary, and the boundaries between domains often overlap, examples of distinct areas of cognitive functioning include the processes for learning and remembering verbal and spatial information, attentional capacities, response speed, problem-solving and planning (Strauss et al., 2006).
Various neuropsychological tests have been developed as tools for assessing and quantifying an individual’s overall cognitive functioning (or ‘global cognition’) along with their performance within the separable domains of cognition (Strauss et al., 2006). Performance in these various cognitive tests has been found to be relatively stable over time in healthy adults, and moderately accurate predictors of real-world functioning and occupational performance (Chaytor and Schmitter-Edgecombe, 2003 ; Hunter, 1986). Furthermore, neuropsychological tests can detect the deficits in cognitive functioning which arise as a consequence of various psychiatric and neurological diseases (Mathuranath et al., 2000 ; Nuechterlein et al., 2004). For example, people with Parkinson’s disease show marked impairments in planning and memory tasks (Dubois and Pillon, 1996), whereas those with schizophrenia have cognitive pervasive deficits, 1–2 standard deviations below population norms, which also predict the severity of disability in this population (Green et al., 2000). Additionally, cognitive abilities decline naturally in almost all people during healthy ageing (Van Hooren et al., 2007). In an ageing population, the functional consequences of cognitive decline may ultimately have a severe social and economic impact. Thus, interventions which improve cognition hold promise for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases, an have positive implications for population health.
Fortunately, interventions which stimulate the brain and/or body can improve cognition, or attenuate decline. For instance, physical exercise has been shown to significantly improve global cognition, along with working memory and attentional processes, in both clinical and healthy populations (Firth et al., 2016; Smith et al., 2010 ; Zheng et al., 2016). Interventions can also be designed to target cognition directly, as computerized training programs for memory and other functions have been found to provide significant cognitive benefits, at least in the short term (Hill et al., 2017 ; Melby-Lervåg and Hulme, 2013). Furthermore, ‘gamification’ of cognitive training programs can maximize their clinical effectiveness, as more complex and interesting programs are capable of better engaging patients in cognitively-demanding tasks while also training multiple cognitive processes simultaneously (Anguera et al., 2013).
Previous studies have found that providing both aerobic exercise and cognitive training together may have additive effects, preventing ageing-related cognitive decline more effectively (Shatil, 2013). This may be due to aerobic and cognitive activity stimulating neurogenesis through independent but complementary pathways; as animal studies show that while exercise stimulates cell proliferation, learning tasks support the survival of these new cells (Kempermann et al., 2010), such that combining these two types of training results in 30% more new neurons than either task alone (Fabel et al., 2009).
Rather than delivering aerobic and cognitive training in separate training sessions, recent advances in technology has presented an opportunity for combining physical activity with cognitively-challenging tasks in a single session through ‘exergames’. Exergames are considered as interactive video-games which require the player to produce physical body movements in order to complete set tasks or actions, in response to visual cues (Oh and Yang, 2010). Common examples include the ‘Nintendo Wii’ (along with ‘Wii Fit’ or ‘Wii Sports software’) or the ‘Microsoft Xbox Kinect’. Additionally, virtual reality systems which use exercise bikes and/or treadmills as a medium for players to interact with three-dimensional worlds have also been developed to provide immersive training experiences (Sinclair et al., 2007).
Along with their popular usage for leisure and entertainment, there is growing interest in the application of exergame systems to improve clinical outcomes. Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of this growing literature have provided preliminary evidence that exergames can improve various health-related outcomes, including reducing childhood obesity, improving balance and falls risk factors in elderly adults, facilitating functional rehabilitation in people with parkinson’s disease, and even reduce depression (Barry et al., 2014; Li et al., 2016 ; van’t Riet et al., 2014). However, the effects of exergames on cognitive functioning have not been systematically reviewed, despite many individual studies in this area.
Therefore, the aim of this study was to systematically review all existing trials of exergames for cognition, and apply meta-analytic techniques to establish the effects of exergames on global cognition along with individual cognitive domains. We also sought to (i) examine the effects of exergames on cognition in healthy and clinically-impaired populations, and (ii) investigate if the effects of exergames differed from those of aerobic exercise alone, by comparing exergames to traditional physical activity control conditions.
[ARTICLE] New Approaches to Exciting Exergame-Experiences for People with Motor Function Impairments – Full Text
Figure 8. Different scenes while the volunteers were playing. (a) “The Paper-Bird”, (b) “The Ladder”, (c) “The Boat” and (d) “Whack-a-Mole”.
[ARTICLE] “FIND Technology”: investigating the feasibility, efficacy and safety of controller-free interactive digital rehabilitation technology in an inpatient stroke population: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial – Full Text HTML
Stroke results in significant disability, which can be reduced by physical rehabilitation. High levels of repetition and activity are required in rehabilitation, but patients are typically sedentary. Using clinically relevant and fun computer games may be one way to achieve increased activity in rehabilitation.
A single-blind randomized controlled trial will be conducted to evaluate the feasibility, efficacy and safety of novel stroke-specific rehabilitation software. This software uses controller-free client interaction and inertial motion sensors. Elements of feasibility include recruitment into the trial, ongoing participation (adherence and dropout), perceived benefit, enjoyment and ease of use of the games. Efficacy will be determined by measuring activity and using upper-limb tasks as well as measures of balance and mobility. The hypothesis that the intervention group will have increased levels of physical activity within rehabilitation and improved physical outcomes compared with the control group will be tested.
Results from this study will provide a basis for discussion of feasibility of this interactive video technological solution in an inpatient situation. Differences in activity levels between groups will be the primary measure of efficacy. It will also provide data on measures of upper-limb function, balance and mobility.
In the US alone, one person per minute has a stroke, and although death rates have declined over the last decade, the burden of disease remains high . Physical rehabilitation has the potential to positively impact functional outcomes and improve this burden; however, this requires a high dose of therapy. A significant factor limiting rehabilitation outcomes is low levels of patient activity . Observational studies in different countries have found that patients after stroke in rehabilitation are surprisingly inactive for the vast majority of the waking day. For example, only 13 % of a stroke unit patient’s day is typically spent in activities related to functional outcome, such as active therapy or walking practice . Many rehabilitation activities, aimed at stimulating neuroplasticity, are by their very nature repetitive and tend to be tedious . One method by which engagement with rehabilitation programs and levels of activity could be improved involves the use of fun and engaging video games.
Commercial, off-the-shelf devices such as the Microsoft Xbox Kinect (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, USA) are relatively inexpensive and use motion capture and feedback technologies with potential for use in rehabilitation. Interactive video games increase adherence to and enjoyment of exercise in the general population  and have the potential to increase the dose of repetitive exercise completed by people with reduced mobility. Exercise-based video games could be used to increase exercise dose during therapy and to enable exercise outside of therapy hours. This is true both in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings as well as at home after discharge from hospital.
In particular, the Kinect for Xbox 360, or simply Kinect, is a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience” by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video-game platform and is now also supported by PCs via Windows 8. It enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, through a user interface using gestures and spoken commands. Kinect enables full-body depth-based three-dimensional motion-capture, facial recognition and voice recognition capabilities. This differentiates it from previous generations of interactive technologies that have been used in rehabilitation.
Despite the promise of such low-cost, consumer-based technologies, many, if not all, off-the-shelf video-game solutions are inappropriate for individuals with functional impairment . There is an opportunity for purpose-built, clinically relevant video game-based rehabilitation to add significant value to current rehabilitation practice. Jintronix, a Montreal-based company, has recently launched a Kinect-based rehabilitation system, Jintronix Rehabilitation System (JRS), which provides an easy-to-use software solution (JRS WAVE) for patients to use. The software solution has been designed in collaboration with physical and occupational therapists and draws upon the motor relearning recommendations by Carr and Shepard . As such, upper limb, sitting balance, standing balance and stepping rehabilitation tasks have been programmed in the JRS WAVE as fun and engaging video games that can be played at a number of different levels of complexity and speed. The system is also capable of automatically measuring changes in the range, speed and quality of motion to give patients instant feedback on their progress.
A second feature of the JRS WAVE is a cloud-based client management telehealth system for clinicians to recommend rehabilitation tasks and track and record performance of those tasks (JRS PORTAL). The PORTAL allows clinicians to provide patients regular updates and information on what has happened to them with daily, weekly or monthly progress reports on their rehabilitation, either face-to-face or remotely.
The proposed project will evaluate the feasibility, efficacy and safety of the JRS WAVE for use in an Australian stroke inpatient rehabilitation context. Elements of feasibility include recruitment into the trial, ongoing participation (adherence and dropout), perceived benefit, and enjoyment and ease of use of the games. Efficacy will be determined by measuring physical activity (using an accelerometer) and using upper-limb tasks as well as measuring changes in balance and mobility over time between the two groups. Adverse events will be monitored and changes in pain and fatigue with the interventions will be used to determine safety of the system. We will test the hypothesis that the intervention group will have increased levels of physical activity within rehabilitation and improved physical outcomes compared with the control group.
Continue —> “FIND Technology”: investigating the feasibility, efficacy and safety of controller-free interactive digital rehabilitation technology in an inpatient stroke population: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial | Trials | Full Text
[ARTICLE] Exergaming and rehabilitation: A methodology for the design of effective and safe therapeutic exergames
We present here a comprehensive definition of therapeutic exergames from which a methodology to create safe exergames for real therapy pathways is derived. Three main steps are identified.
- A clear identification of all the exercise requirements, not only in terms of goals of the therapy, but also in terms of additional constraints. Characteristic parameters for determining the challenge level and to assess progression are also defined in this phase.
- The exercise is transformed into a Virtual Exercise, in which all the exercise elements are implemented inside a simple virtual environment. In this step the discussion between clinical and ICT teams allows maximizing the effectiveness of exergames implementation.
- The final exergame is realized by introducing on top of the exercise all the game elements suggested by good game design to maximize entertainment.
A clear line between exercises and games is drawn here. We illustrate the methodology with exergames designed for
- balance and posture and
- neglect rehabilitation, implemented and tested with post-stroke patients training autonomously at home.
The methodology can have a broader impact as it can be applied also in other gaming fields in which the requirements go beyond entertainment.
[ARTICLE] A Novel Study on Natural Robotic Rehabilitation Exergames using the unaffected Arm of Stroke Patients – Full Text PDF
It is well known that home exercise is as good as rehab center. However, people with severe stroke typically lack the ability to move their affected arm, and hence they need a very special rehabilitation program that usually available in hospitals or professional centers. Therapists train the affected hand of those patients by using robotic-assisted therapy devices, or sometimes by holding the affected arms of the patients and stretching it for them.
However, such robotic devices and professional therapists are not available at home. In this study, we design and implement a low-cost rehabilitation glove to meet the needs of those patients who have paralysis in their affect hand. The novelty of this glove is that it is to be worn on the unaffected hand which acts as a natural robotic arm during the rehabilitation session. The glove is equipped with FSR sensors that measure the forces exerted by the affected hand on the unaffected hand.
A virtual reality rehabilitation game is developed using Microsoft Kinect to facilitate the exercises and motivate the patients. The system is tested on three patients for six weeks. Objective measurements showed that patients have significantly improved over the study period. Moreover, the patients themselves gave a positive feedback about the whole system; wearing the glove on the unaffected hand made their life easier and let them enjoyed the rehabilitation sessions.
The ableX system features therapy games and a handheld controller, built to accelerate rehabilitation of the arms and hands following stroke. According to the company of the same name, the technology can be set up on a computer and is intended to help stroke survivors transition from acute care to self-care at home. Users who are able to recognize simple shapes on a TV or computer screen and can sit while supported may benefit from using ableX, the company’s website says.
The site notes that the ableX software and control devices are built to work together, providing high intensity task-based rehabilitation for stroke-affected arms and hands. The therapy games are designed to be fun and easy to play on any Windows computer and are built to provide progressive recovery for an injured brain. The ableX system aims to stimulate neural plasticity and encourage long-term recovery habits, the site adds.
While no Internet connection is required, the ableX Pro requires a desktop or laptop computer with the Windows 7 operating system or better. The ableX is engineered to allow users to include arm and hand recovery as part of their daily routine, allowing for up to 1,000 repetitions per session.
Additionally, the ableX Pathway service for health professionals is intended to provide users prescription support and tailored training routines based upon routine observation and patient goals.
For more information, visit http://www.im-able.com
DESCRIPTION AND OVERVIEW
[REVIEW] Virtual reality using games for improving physical functioning in older adults. – Full Text PDF
The use of virtual reality through exergames or active video game, i.e. a new form of interactive gaming, as a complementary tool in rehabilitation has been a frequent focus in research and clinical practice in the last few years. However, evidence of their effectiveness is scarce in the older population.
This review aim to provide a summary of the effects of exergames in improving physical functioning in older adults. A search for randomized controlled trials was performed in the databases EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsyInfo, Cochrane data base, PEDro and ISI Web of Knowledge. Results from the included studies were analyzed through a critical review and methodological quality by the PEDro scale. Thirteen studies were included in the review.
The most common apparatus for exergames intervention was the Nintendo Wii gaming console (8 studies), followed by computers games, Dance video game with pad (two studies each) and only one study with the Balance Rehabilitation Unit. The Timed Up and Go was the most frequently used instrument to assess physical functioning (7 studies). According to the PEDro scale, most of the studies presented methodological problems, with a high proportion of scores below 5 points (8 studies). The exergames protocols and their duration varied widely, and the benefits for physical function in older people remain inconclusive. However, a consensus between studies is the positive motivational aspect that the use of exergames provides. Further studies are needed in order to achieve better methodological quality, external validity and provide stronger scientific evidence.
Fitness game, Exergaming or exer-gaming (a portmanteau of “exercise” and “gaming”) is a term used for video games that are also a form of exercise. Exergaming relies on technology that tracks body movement or reaction. The genre has been credited with upending the stereotype of gaming as a sedentary activity, and promoting an active lifestyle. However, research indicates that exergames do not actually promote a more active lifestyle. Exergames are seen as evolving from technology changes aimed at making video games more fun.…
The patient pictured above is playing a game on Microsoft Kinect where she’s paddling and steering down a river, swatting bats inside a cave, grabbing things out of the river and catching parachutes of supplies. She’s had a stroke and, as a result, has impaired motor function in her right hand.
The game she’s playing was developed by a team of clinicians, computer scientists, an electrical engineer and a biomechanist at Ohio State University as a way to bring costly constraint-induced movement therapy into a stroke survivor’s home.