After playing an educational video game for just 15 minutes children understood what do if someone was having a stroke, according to new research reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. Researchers tested 210 9- and 10-year-old "low-income children" from the Bronx, New York, on whether they could identify a stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 if they saw someone having one. Researchers then tested the children again after they played a stroke education video game called Stroke Hero. Finally, the children were given remote access to the game and encouraged them to play it at home, re-testing 198 of the children seven weeks later.
The conclusion? The children that were part of the study were 33 percent more likely to recognize a stroke from a hypothetical scenario and knew to call 9-1-1 after they played the video game once. The children remembered what to do when they were re-tested seven weeks later.
The children who continued to play the game remotely were 18 percent more likely to recognize symptoms of a stroke symptom than those children who played the video game only once.
Around 90 percent of the children studied reported that they liked playing Stroke Hero, while 67 percent said that they would play it at home, but only about 26 percent did. Researchers didn't examine why some children stopped playing the game.
"We need to educate the public, including children, about stroke, because often it's the witness that makes that 9-1-1 call; not the stroke victim. Sometimes, these witnesses are young children," said Olajide Williams, M.D., M.S., lead author and associate professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City.
The game puts children in charge of navigating a clot-busting spaceship within an artery, and shooting down blood clots with a clot-busting drug. When the supply of clot-busting drugs runs out, players must answer stroke awareness questions in order to refuel. The game is also synced to a hip hop song, though what particular song that is was not disclosed.
"The study suggests that the novel approach of using video games to teach children about stroke could have far-reaching implications. However, the study was small and there was no comparison group, so the results should be viewed with caution," Williams said. "Video games are fun, widely available and accessible for most children. Empowering every potential witness with the knowledge and skills required to make that life-saving decision if they witness a stroke is critical."
You can learn more about the game here.
Source: American Heart Association