Monday, May 16, 2011

Computer Games Help Stroke Victims Recover

Many people who have had a stroke struggle to regain full control of hand and arm movement. Researchers have discovered video games to help patients recover. Improvements were found in hand/arm coordination, accuracy, and speed. The games also helped restore grip precision and individual finger motion.

Patients played for 2-3 hours per day for eight days. Those who played the games had better reach control, more stable muscle usage, and more smooth, efficient motion. Tests showed more finger control and speed.

The control group, who had uninjured arms, showed no improvement. Patients with a second hand/arm injury also demonstrated no gains in the arm not used for gaming.

The gamers showed improvements of 20-22% over eight days. Certainly worth investigating for more patients.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Acne Drug Miracle for Intellectual Disabilities?

Minocycline, long used as a drug to treat acne, is showing promise in the treatment of intellectual disabilities associated with Fragile X syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disorders.

This medication reduces brain inflammation and suppresses MMP-9, a protein commonly overproduced in the brains of those with Fragile X syndrome. This protein interfers with normal neural development. Other side effects include a graying of the teeth. A few study participants also demonstrated blood test results indicative of an autoimmune disorder, but no other symptoms.

Trials of other medications to treat intellectual disabilities are also underway. Three inhibit production of another overproduced protein. The fourth appears to reduce hyperactivity and hypersensitivity. This medication, Arbaclofen, may help the same symptoms in those with autism.