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How a game is helping stroke patients - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How a game is helping stroke patients

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BALTIMORE -

David Stevenson says a robotic arm and game helped him regain movement after a stroke earlier this year left his left side paralyzed.

"My arm, my leg I couldn't move at all. I had slurred speech and my face was drooping," he said.

Stevenson tested new technology in a study at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine during his recovery.

"It's just like you're playing a video game, except it's actually helping you," he said.

The Kata Design Group is behind the technology. The team of artists, neurologists and engineers create interactive games to help patients move again.

"It's a way to make them in a playful, exploratory way, help them explore movement in a way they otherwise wouldn't try," said Dr. John Krakauer of Johns Hopkins and the Kata Design Group.

Researchers say the games allow patients to make natural movements they don't typically do during physical and occupational therapy.

"The right kind of movements that will allow the brain to rewire so they can move like they did before they had an injury," said Dr. Omar Ahmad of Johns Hopkins and the Kata Design Group.

The technology is now being tested with a larger group. Stevenson hopes it will help others recover.

"Most people would be happy where I'm at but I still want to be completely 100 percent," Stevenson said.

And the games are evolving. The group is currently developing a virtual reality game.

Researchers hope the technology can one day help injured war veterans.

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