New video game could help stroke survivors

By: Tiffany Lewis | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 11, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new series of self-movement management games could dramatically change therapy for stroke and brain injury survivors.

Vince Macri, a Tallahassee based inventor, created the games.

"It's very simply the human brain and its capacity to reorganize itself despite a nurero-insult," Macri said. "And to improve communication from the brain to the human body."

The games combine virtual reality and a powered orthotic device. This allows patients to not only attempt to move their limbs, as in normal therapy, but to also see their actions acted out.

"The video game is perfect for me," said stroke survivor Nicole. "To move the mouse and watch it move with my hands, it just really helps me."

Nicole is one of several stroke survivors to rave about the game.

Betsey Stupski had a stroke shortly after birth. She said that in her 50+ years of receiving therapy, she believes these games are a life changer.

"It's inadequate to work your hand or work your limbs, you need to recreate that connection from your brain to your hand," Stupski said. "And I think Mr. Macri's technology definitely improves that, it helps us visualize success as well as visualize the actual motion."

Doctor Narlin Beaty is a neurosurgeon at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. He works with stroke victims daily.

He has yet to see Macri's games, but says anything getting patients excited about recovery is a good thing.

"Moving your arm, or learning how to walk again requires a great deal of repetition," Beaty said. "It requires hard work, and it is a struggle, but anything that helps the patient regain that repetition and regain that strength and build that confidence to do those motions again is valuable."

"I can tell you that working with the program is exhausting because it requires so much concentration, as well as working your muscles," Stupski said. "But it's very satisfying because you feel like you're actually doing something, you're actually making that connection."

But what Macri says is the most cutting edge is not the technology, but the access to it.

"We're not that far away from being able to get an entire package to people at home or wherever they have a computer for self-administered adjunctive therapy," Macri said.

He hopes to make therapy cheaper and easier to access than ever before.

To learn more about the game, click here.

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