July 24, 2009

Online games may help MS patients

A collaborative group of U.S. health and computer experts say they have developed games for multiple sclerosis patients.

Members of the MS Technology Collaborative say MyBrainGames, available for free at the Web site MyMSMyWay.com, will provide people living with the neurological disease an opportunity to exercise brain power.

Many times our patients are doing well physically but they may still struggle with cognitive ability, Dr. Stephen Kirzinger of the University of Louisville, Ky., one of the healthcare professionals who oversaw game development, says in a statement. This game presents the first step in assessing whether games can help counter the cognitive challenges of MS.

The game's challenge involves processing speed, working memory, attention and task switching ability, which are available at varying levels of difficulty. Players can even create customized levels. Scores can be saved allowing players to track their performance over time.

The collaborative, an alliance of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, was developed three years ago in response to a survey indicating people living with MS were highly reliant upon computers and the Internet and frequent gamers.