Science and Tech


This Video Game Could Save Stroke Patients' Lives

Kids who played a video game called "Stroke Hero" for 15 minutes were more likely to recognize the signs of a stoke and call for help.
Posted at 12:29 PM, Jan 31, 2014

Here's one you probably haven't heard before: Video games might be able to help save lives. 

It's true. A study showed kids who played "Stroke Hero," an educational video game, were about a third more likely to recognize stroke signs and know to call 911. (Via Everyday Health)

"It's called 'Stroke Hero.' It has players shooting down blood clots with a spaceship and then answering questions in order to advance." (Via WNYT)

A Columbia University doctor and professor had 210 children play the game for 15 minutes. The children were 9 or 10 years old and from low-income homes in the Bronx. 

The children were more likely to recognize the signs of a stroke immediately after playing the game and even seven weeks later. (Via AllVoices)

Okay, so learning while having fun — seems too good to be true, right?

But the creators of the game, Hip Hop Public Health, somehow made it work. Ninety percent of the kids said they liked playing the game, and many played the game again at home. 

According to LiveScience, the Bronx area that the children come from have high instances of strokes. And stroke patients are rarely able to call 911 or get help.

So the game is kind of genius. Getting a stroke patient medical attention quickly is important, something many organizations have been trying to teach the public. Take this American Stroke Association PSA, for example:

"The sooner they get to the hospital, the sooner they'll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery. Learn the body language, the sudden signs, and spot a stroke fast."

In case you want to learn what the game taught the kids in the study, the signs of a stroke include face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.