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Aptima Developing Gaming Tool to Rehab U.S. Warfighters with Traumatic Brain Injury

  • 'Brain training' to improve cognitive skills for those injured by concussions and blasts
Woburn, MA - February 7, 2011 --ASDWire]-- For U.S. troops returning from combat with traumatic brain injury (TBI), one of the prevalent impairments is auditory processing difficulty that prevents them from communicating effectively. Interestingly, this difficulty is due less to physical hearing loss and more to impairments in their cognitive function.

Aptima, the R&D firm that applies cognitive, psychological, and behavioral modeling expertise to solving military and medical problems, is developing AGATE - "Adaptive Gaming for Auditory Training and Evaluation" - an innovative new training tool that leverages advances in gaming technologies to rehabilitate cognitive skills that have been impaired in soldiers injured by blasts and concussive events.



AGATE - "Adaptive Gaming for Auditory Training and Evaluation"

Funded by the Office of Secretary of Defense, AGATE is being developed for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which treats injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. When complete, AGATE will look and act much like an advanced video game, yet its true functions will be to assess the patient's cognitive deficits and to improve on them. Embedded in AGATE will be audio and visual exercises that adapt to the patient's needs, progressively challenging them and improving their cognitive functions.
Aptima, as the prime contractor, is working with consultants Dr. Kirk D. Little, a Cognitive Rehabilitation Specialist, and Brain Injury Specialist Dr. Thomas Sullivan, as well as subcontractor Wisdom Tools, a game development company. "On the outside AGATE will appear as a full-featured video game, but under the hood, it's truly designed as a 'brain-training' rehabilitation tool to optimize the individual's recovery," said Dr. Jason Sidman, an expert in experimental psychology and the AGATE principal investigator for Aptima.

"Like any rehabilitation, improvement comes from intensive use, so we're designing AGATE with spy-themed plotline that will appeal to the military patient, rigorously engaging them and keeping them on-task more than simple memory, attention, and speed of processing exercises would," added Dr. Alexandra Geyer, a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and Aptima's AGATE project manager.

Funded by a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research award, AGATE is scheduled for delivery in 2011. It is anticipated the product will find use in the civilian sector as well, helping high school, college and professional athletes, such as those playing football, recover function from the after affects of concussions and head related injuries.
This work is supported by the US Army Medical research and Material Command under contract W81XWH-08-C-0725. The view, opinions, and/or findings contained in this press release are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other documentation.

Source : Aptima, Inc.

Published on ASDNews: Feb 7, 2011

 

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