Playing Fruit Ninja Can Help Stroke Victims

by Rachel Baker on January 2, 2014

Here’s a win for the video game industry – particularly for the Xbox Kinect developers.

Video games that employ virtual reality and motion sensors have been shown to help stroke victims recover function in their debilitated limbs. Now a study published in Neural Regeneration Research showed that even a simple game that millions of people have played on their iPhone or iPad can help stroke patients’ brains.

The small study comprised of 18 healthy volunteers between 49 and 72 years old, plus five patients who had recently suffered a stroke. The researchers took fMRI scans of the test subjects’ brains before and after training them to play Fruit Ninja, a popular game that requires players to “slice” fruit. While the mobile version of the game asks players to slice the fruit by swiping on the touchscreen, the researchers in this study used Xbox Kinect, asking players to swipe their hands in front of the motion sensor to cut the fruit.

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