Can an "educational" video game improve cognition in stroke/brain injury survivors?
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Current healthcare policies limit the time during which intensive rehabilitation is available for stroke and brain injury survivors (AAPM&R, 2009). Yet the timeline for recovery from such insults extends well beyond the typical window of rehabilitation provision, which makes independently administered cognitive stimulation an essential component of the recovery process. Unfortunately, little data exist as to the efficacy of such programs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether a computerized, general cognitive stimulation program (Le., Nintendo OS' "Brain Age 2"), would successfully remediate specific cognitive skills in stroke or brain injury survivors compared to healthy controls. The benefits of this game include, (1) readily available for public use, (2) doesn't require training, (3) self- motivating which is important for successfully completing the program (Cherney et aI., 2008), and (4) automatically tracks the performance and reaction time. Participants in this study included stroke and brain injury survivors with mild cognitive-linguistic deficits and age- and education-matched healthy controls. All subjects were assessed for memory, attention, reaction time, executive function, and subjective perception of cognition; then played the "Brain-Age" game for 6 weeks, 30-60 min/day. Participants then repeated baseline testing; data analysis included comparing pre- and posttreatment test scores.