Progressive study under way for stroke rehabilitation

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"The stroke survivor wears reflective markers on their arm and body, says Thanassis Rikakis. He says, "Those reflective markers are being tracked by infrared cameras around the room and then the computer calculates from those markers a model of the body and arm for the patient.

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Stan Decker survived his stroke but lost control of his right side. Now he is taking part in a program that he hopes will restore some of his motor skills.

It is part of an Arizona State University and Banner Baywood medical study using an interactive computer game.

Thanassis explains, "Everything you see is using principles from media, arts and film to intuitively communicate what's going on."< /p>

Rikakis, from ASU, says the program gives patients immediate feedback to go through strengthening exercises. "When we get the stroke survivor actually involved we're aiming for more extensive learning, more complete recovery, faster recovery."

Thanassis adds, "The image comes up as you will see, and the image breaks apart into small particles and Stan needs to complete the reach and grasp movement for the image to come back together.

Which means the more Stan can work on putting the picture back together like a puzzle, the better.

Decker tells 3TV, "I have to admit starting out was I felt maybe we were on the borderline of hocus pocus, but the more we got into it, it was obvious what we did helped that hand and arm."

Dr. Paul Blake, with Banner Baywood Medical Center, says, "He has shown significant improvement in his right upper extremity function and that's what this particular program is addressing."< /p>

A unique part of the system is patients can actually choose what images they want to see in the game. Diane Decker, Stan's wife, says, "It personalizes it, plus it gives the teams and people working with him, see him as he was before the stroke."

Thanassis tells 3TV, "Stan liked to see things he was able to do before the stroke, because that inspires him if he continues to improve he can go back to fishing, hunting and playing with his dogs."

For Stan this computer game has given him hope that more recovery is still possible even though it's been more than a year since he had his stroke. Dr. Blake says, "They're in that phase where we used to think no more recovery was achievable, however recent research is disapproving that notion."

Stan admits, "It gets very frustrating and tiring at times, but the next day is better."

Both ASU and Banner Baywood are looking for more stroke patients to participate in this study.

For more information go to and it is the only certified stroke center. Learn more about and if you think you can be a candidate, email: