Virtual reality helps stroke patients get back in the game

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Metuchen Sentinel. July 23, 2015 (front page)

EDISON — A new technology may have older individuals loving video games even more than the younger generation.

Local researchers are drawing on these games to study and advance a type of virtual rehabilitation therapy to improve the lives of individuals with post-cerebral vascular disease, a condition often associated with strokes, according to county officials.

Exploring the full effects of his treatment, Grigore Burdea, a veteran professor at Rutgers University and a maverick in the field of virtual reality, has teamed up with two long-term care facilities in Central Jersey — Roosevelt Care Center at Edison and JFK Hartwyck Edison Estates, officials said.

“Conventional medicine provides rehabilitation six to nine months after a stroke,” Burdea said. “The justification for this continues to be that it’s basically reached a plateau. But [patients] can, in fact, improve further.”

Under the umbrella of his Highland Park-based company, Bright Cloud International, Burdea is currently targeting nursing homes’ stroke survivors with this therapy.

“It’s intensive, repetitive training with a purpose,” he said. “It’s also responsible for improving focus, memories, decision-making and reducing depression.”

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