The Hamburg-based games developer RetroBrain has launched a joint project with the Segeberg Clinics where the neurological centre specialises in treating Parkinson’s and movement disorders. Commenting on the project last week, Prof. Björn Hauptmann, Senior Consultant at the “Fachklinik für Parkinson & Bewegungsstörungen”, said: “When patients with Parkinson’s become ill, they suffer increasingly from limited mobility. Video games suited to the patients’ needs now train their mobility and mental skills.“ RetroBrain said on Facebook: “Morbus Parkinson is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Around 4.1 million worldwide suffer from the disease. We are delighted to announce that RetroBrain R&D is now contributing to research.”
Playful approach to therapy
RetroBrain’s collection of games called MemoreBox work without a controller. The patient plays the games on a TV screen entirely through therapeutic, physical exercise. “Video games can help Parkinson’s patients to walk steadily and to relearn sequences of motion. Many commercial games that require the elderly or Parkinson’s patients to make quick decisions or do complex movements and avoid obstacles are too risky and above all discouraging,” said Manouchehr Shamsrizi, co-founder and manager of RetroBrain.
Assessing and correcting movements
A whole range of movements to improve balance and reactivity can be practised with the games. During one game, patients can drive a motorcycle or hand out letters from a bicycle which forces the patient to stretch out their arms. “So far, the games have been tried out only in homes for the elderly and among people with dementia. As part of the joint project, we will now adjust the games to the needs of Parkinson’s patients,” said Hauptmann. Movements can be assessed and corrected with the MemoreBox. The process also makes “the experience enjoyable and the players have great fun.“