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Red Hill Studios/UCSF Partnership to Showcase 'Gaming Therapy' for People With Parkinson's Disease at Games for Health Conference

Mon, 05/16/2011 - 12:34pm
Bio-Medicine.Org

BOSTON, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Hill Studios, in partnership with the UCSF School of Nursing, will showcase a custom suite of Kinect™-based physical therapy games that have been specifically designed to help people with Parkinson's slow the progression of this neurodegenerative disease. Sue Lifschiz, a woman with Parkinson's, will demonstrate how the games provide a smooth progression of difficulty levels to meet the needs of a variety of different patients and encourage them to perform custom exercises designed to combat this progressive disease.

More than one million Americans wrestle with the impact of Parkinson's disease with 50,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed every year. Recent research has shown that exercise may be able slow the progression of the disease and possibly halt its progress entirely.

Inspired by that research, Red Hill Studios and the UCSF School of Nursing have developed a set of Kinect-based physical therapy games designed to encourage people with Parkinson's to have fun while they exercise. Red Hill specifically designed the games to elicit movements and gestures that the clinical team from UCSF had shown were beneficial for improving gait and balance in people with Parkinson's disease.

"These games demonstrate the value of combining innovative health game designers with a top flight clinical team," said Bob Hone, creative director of Red Hill Studios. "Creating games that are both fun to play and provide concrete medical benefits takes a special kind of team. We are much more than the sum of our parts."

The Red Hill/UCSF team is currently conducting a randomized clinical trial of the physical therapy games with 52 patients to demonstrate their efficacy in improving patients' gait and balance. During the trial, clinicians are tracking the progress of individual patients through a telemedicine link to the patients. Game results provide real-time proxy assessments of each patient's progress a

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