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How Video Games Positively Impact Patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Video Games Help Measure Movement in Children with Muscular Dystrophy

Recognizing the need to have patients challenged and motivated to work day-to-day, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has found the right tool to help measure movement with muscular dystrophy patients – video games.

Patients with muscular dystrophy lose mobility over time, and patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a type that is most common in children, specifically young boys, become weaker over time, slowly unable to feed themselves and other tasks.  So, researchers at Nationwide Children’s have worked with a local game developer, Chris Volpe of Mulitvarious Games to develop a way to measure upper extremity movement in patients using interactive game technology.

As requested by the patients, the game allows them to dig and collect gems as well as squash spiders.  It requires the boys to reach with their arms in various directions and push force fields, allowing researchers to measure their movement. Spending hours doing physical movement is hard on the patients, and the game is the perfect solution that allows them to just play and be kids.

Chris Volpe, front middle is the game developer with the Game Developers Association of Ohio.

There are more positive impacts of gaming on hospitalized kids. Chris Volpe, the game developer is also over the Game Developers Association of Ohio and leads the Ohio Game Developers Expo each year. The association donates a portion of ticket sales from this event to Extra Life, a CMN Hospitals fundraising program within the gaming community. Funds from this event stay local to benefit patient care at Nationwide Children’s.

Anyone who loves games – console, PC or tabletop –  can sign up to join Extra Life and play games to heal kids. Participants can join to play on Extra Life’s official game day, coming up November 4, or choose a day of their own to participate in a gaming marathon. Funds raised from Extra Life stay local to benefit kids at their choice of one of 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.