COVID: People who were infected with the virus are rehabilitated with video games

The spread of coronavirus has caused some patients to experience prolonged symptoms such as severe muscle weakness, respiratory dysfunctions and fatigue, after having suffered from the COVID-19 infection, so it is necessary for users to go to rehabilitation therapies to improve their quality of life.

Given this, scientists from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav) developed two devices that will help the patient train the respiratory muscles with the use of video games.

The work of the researcher Nadia Vanessa García Hernández, belonging to said institution, consisted in the elaboration of two devices for the rehabilitation of the respiratory muscles in patients who have suffered from COVID-19.

“These devices make it possible to evaluate the strength of the respiratory muscles and guide the execution of personalized exercises, through video games installed on a computer, only that, instead of using a control, the movements are performed through the trainer,” he explained. the researcher assigned to the Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing program.

The two essential instruments for rehabilitation in patients are a forcemeter that helps measure the maximum pressures of breathing and exhalation through the mouth and a respiratory muscle trainer, which although it resembles the first one, it needs a valve to apply resistance in the breathing.

According to a statement, for the proper use of the forcemeter, it is necessary to acquire an interchangeable filter that prevents the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and a disposable mouthpiece for the exclusive use of the patient.

What does the therapy consist of?

The therapy consists of different phases, the first is to carry out a test where the patient blocks the nose with a nasal clip, and through the forcemeter, inhales and exhales with the mouth so that the expert in charge can measure the pressure with which it enters and exits the air, and thus diagnose the state of the user’s respiratory muscles.

Once you have information about the patient’s condition, then the muscles are trained with the help of video games, where the purpose is for the patient to inhale and exhale air to overcome the preset resistance of the valve.

The statement mentions that there are only two games developed so far, which consist of moving a bird up and down in order to eat fruit, while the second is a ship that has to dodge various obstacles.

Through the muscle trainer, the patient will breathe in coordination with the video game, that is, if the user inhales, the character will go up and if he exhales, the character will go down. The purpose of rehabilitation with this method is for the video game to measure the times of inhalation, retention and rest of the air, as well as the pressure when breathing, to later be deposited in a database that shows the evolution and progress of the patient.

“The importance of this project in the rehabilitation area is that systems are created that motivate and guide people to perform their exercises in a correct and personalized way”, indicated the also professor.

The project showed that thanks to video games, patients with post-Covid symptoms performed breathing therapy at the appropriate rhythm and intensity in each session, with the aim of strengthening the respiratory muscles. The improvement was 40% in users between the ages of 20 and 70 who had suffered from the infection and who had a significant progress as opposed to the state they were in during the illness, according to the statement.



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