October 8, 2011

Using the iPad 2 in Stroke Recovery

I found several news stories about how Florida Hospital Oceanside had been successfully using iPads with an aphasic stroke patient.

Unfortunately, that application allowed the patient to touch an icon and a synthesized voice would communicate simple messages. That's not what George needed, so I started searching the internet and the Apple App Store for more ideas.

I found another story on MSNBC about two Australian neuroscientists, Stuart Smith and Penelope McNulty of Neuroscience Research Australia, who had been using iPad, Kinect, and Wii games to make physical exercises less boring for stroke patients. Smith found that Fruit Ninja on the iPad was especially useful for improving fine motor control in patients. Searching the App Store turned up several applications that were developed for aphasic patients so they could tap an icon to have a voice speak for them. Best of all, I found an app that had videos demonstrating all the mouth and tongue exercises that would help improve George's throat paralysis, swallowing (so he could have his beloved coffee again!), and speech.

via the-gadgeteer.com

From an engaging story about a stroke and use of an iPad in rehab and recovery. I wish I had been able to use an iPad for mouth exercises as suggested here remembering the exercises and how to do them was an obstacle. I bet iPad would have been better than the static instructions I used; it could have used animations or video to demonstrate the proper technique. I'm using iPad to time exercise routines and sometimes as a reminder to take medications. I can see that it could be useful in setting reminders just to do exercises periodically.

I didn't start playing games until later in my recovery, but I watched a lot of Jeopardy as soon as I could and heartily recommend games for anyone working on rebuilding cognitive skills. I bet iPad can be really useful in recovering motor skills as suggested here.