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"Playing to Heal" Dr. Hamid Ekbia’s Research Featured

2013-11-26
Phot of Hamid
Dr. Hamid Ekbia (photo courtesy of the IU Foundation)

The Indiana University Foundation publishes "Imagine: A Better IU. A Better World," which features IU research that is meaningful to people’s lives. The Fall 2013 issue highlights Dr. Hamid Ekbia’s research to help stroke survivors. Excerpts from the article, "Playing to Heal," are included here.

Playing to Heal

IMAGINE IF TYING YOUR SHOES EXHAUSTED YOU. Brushing your teeth, sitting up in bed—mundane actions you’ve done all your life are now inordinately difficult.

It can happen. Each year, 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke—a sudden attack caused by a clot or hemorrhage in the brain. If treated quickly, they survive. But the damage from a stroke can include the loss of motor functions or physical sensation.

If you were a stroke survivor, what would you be willing to do in order to retrain your body and brain? Would you be willing to lift your leg 20 times per day, even if it completely fatigued you? How about 100 times? 1,000?

Would it be easier if it were a game?

IU’s Hamid Ekbia thinks the answer to the last question is "yes." That’s why the School of Informatics and Computing professor is leading a project to create a special kind of game that serves stroke survivors and their physical therapists. "The most accurate term for it would be an interactive therapy platform that connects patients and therapists via telecommunication," explains Ekbia.

Posted November 26, 2013