Card games can help recovery from strokes

A new report says that playing simple card games can help stroke patients with their recovery just as much as virtual reality gaming. Canadian researchers conducted a test on 141 patients to determine whether gaming or more traditional games was better at treating stroke sufferers. They found that playing cards, games like dominoes, and even throwing a paper ball into a basket improved patients' motor skills. They said playing bingo or using a Wii games console also aided recovery from a stroke. The researchers reported that if the type of task used for the rehabilitation of motor skills is intensive, repetitive and gets the hands and arms moving, it will help those recovering from a stroke.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It can lead to death if not treated quickly. Following a stroke, sufferers can experience a number of physical changes such as drooping face muscles, slurred speech and a loss of strength in the arms and legs. The researchers said it wasn't clear whether virtual reality gaming or traditional games helped sufferers more. Researcher Dr Gustavo Saposnik said: "We all like technology and have the tendency to think that new technology is better than old-fashioned strategies, but sometimes that's not the case. In this study, we found that simple recreational activities that can be implemented anywhere may be as effective as technology."