05/16/2011

WVU using video game to study stroke, nervous system trauma

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Motion capture in home gaming systems is being used every day in different and inventive ways, even to help people recover from injury and illness.  Valeriya Gritsenko, Ph.D., a recent addition to the West Virginia University Center for Neuroscience, is using motion capture in the XBOX Kinect to learn how the nervous system deals with damage that may be caused by a stroke or other nervous system related trauma.

Motion capture is the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model.

“For example, your arm is a very complex machine. It has many bones and many joints that are moving in different directions. There are many muscles that flex and extend the joints in multiple directions. The nervous system has to figure out what muscles to use and when to activate them,” Dr. Gritsenko said. “People who have had a stroke or any neural trauma have damaged some of these pathways. So, the idea is to use motion capture to understand these pathways, look at how they are damaged and how it can be worked around.”

Tracking motion of rehabilitating patients while they are at home may reveal a lot about the speed and/or degree of total recovery.

“I have collaborated with clinical faculty on a grant submission that deals with bringing motion capture into people’s homes,” Gritsenko said. “The XBOX Kinect sensor tracks the movement of the body. The idea is to use technology like that for rehabilitation to track people’s movements. For example, if they play games, we can track their recovery.”

Currently in its preparation stages, Gritsenko’s XBOX research is scheduled to begin in June and will continue for at least a year. Participants are currently being recruited for the study.
 

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For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
jonesan@wvuhealthcare.com
tp/asj/lal: 04-28-11

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