Sunday, October 20, 2013

Six Things You Should Know from BrainTech 2013
Does Google Glass have a place in cognitive development? What is the future of games and game consoles and neuroplasticity-based therapy? Why are marketable neurosplasticity-based solutions struggling?

Here are 6 valuable take-aways from Brain­Tech Isreal 2013 by Dr. Son Pre­minger regarding neuroplasticity and cognitive training:
  1. Motivation is key for success of neuroplasticity-based therapy
  2. Brain plasticity-based therapy can have positive and negative results and must be designed and performed correctly
  3. Huge wholes exist in our capacity to translate valuable research into valuable and marketable solutions
  4. New media and gaming platforms have great potential to deliver significantly therapeutic solutions
  5. Neuroplasticity-based therapy may benefit from future development in cortex tissue transplant
  6. Defining guidelines now will help us address the inevitable future ethical issues
At the mindMender Project we live at the intersection of mobile technology and plasticity-based therapy. Download and try Traffic Controller 2 Lite to see how the iPad can leverage neuroplasticity to improve cognitive, fine and gross motors skills.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Benefits of "gamification" and Stroke Therapy

I was devastated after presenting my first therapeutic exercise project, mindMender GMS (Gross Motor Skills), to the staff at USC. They said, and I quote, "Very nice but nobody is going to use it". Defeated but thankful for their candid evaluation I immediately started investigating how to "gamify" my "boring" line drawing exercise book.

Assuming our baseline for exercising plasticity in the brain is to use increasingly difficult repetitive exercises, gamification has the potential to provide significant benefit during therapy for stroke survivors especially when included as part of a Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT) regimen.

My previous post focused on the power of "gamification" and how it provides a sense of:

  • Autonomy
  • Competence
  • Socialization
Today's post focuses on the benefits of gamification with an emphasis on mobile devices. These are:
  • Accessibility
  • Portability
  • Trackability
Probably the most significant benefit is accessibility. Providing a "gamified" exercise on a mobile tablet allows the patient to engage in therapy anytime, anyplace, anywhere. As tablets become more affordable the potential for a stroke survivor to have access to one also increases. This presents the opportunity to exercise almost anytime. And if the exercise is engaging and "gamification" is integrated well the potential increase of rate of progress could be significant.

The inherent nature of a tablet makes it extremely portable providing a vehicle to exercise anyplace, anywhere. This could be in a car, a shopping mall, or at home anywhere in the world. The patient no longer is required to visit a facility for all their therapy. Some exercises they can now do in the comfort of their own home.

Last, and certainly not any less important, is the ability to view unaltered and objective results. Again, well done gamification also track metrics that are important to clinicians and care givers. Through the computing power inherent in modern tablets a myriad of data can be collected and shared via user friendly charts and graphs and health data integrators like Validic.

The mindMender project is focused on providing well "gamified" therapeutic exercises for stroke and other brain injuries as well as for development of early eye-hand coordination skills.

Our Traffic Controller 2 game provides many of the essential gamification features. It is a line drawing game with three levels of difficulty. It tracks:
  • Speed of movement
  • Accuracy of touch
  • Accuracy of movement
Read more and download it from the Apple App Store at mindMender Projects.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Power of Gamification in Therapy

iPad game for stroke and brain injury recovery
Traffic Controller 2 Lite
"Gamification" is the recasting of exercises or presentations in a way that is fun and engaging. Many companies are "gamifying" training

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Certification for Medical Mobil Apps & Games

Startup Happtique is looking to establish itself as the go to clearinghouse and certification authority for medical mobile apps.  This will give physicians a single point of contact when researching apps to prescribe.  Very interesting stuff as doctors begin to prescribe apps and games as part of a prescriptive regimen.

Here's a quote from an article in the NY Times:
“It is intuitive to people, the idea of a prescription,” said Lee H. Perlman, managing director of Happtique, a subsidiary of the business arm of the Greater New York Hospital Association. Happtique is creating a system to allow doctors to prescribe apps, and Mr. Perlman suggested that a change in the way people think about medicine might be required: “We’re basically saying that pills can also be information, that pills can also be connectivity.”
If you are developing a serious game that has therapeutic or medical benefits it might be worth investigating what they're doing.

Ready or not, the future is here! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Update - mindMender Traffic Controller 2

Traffic Controller 2 has just been submitted to the appStore and should be available any day! The greatest improvement is in the new Dashboard and new graphs. Check it out at:

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Importance Of Objective Data

Data is king, everything else are just opinions. And this is particularly true when evaluating recovery progress. Without objective data, one evaluator's "opinion" can reduce or eliminate resources completely. 

Objective data are one of the significant benefits of recovery exercise gamification. Developing games and exercise routines as a mobile app game gives us the opportunity to collect all kinds of information to more accurately assess progress and secure the resources needed to continue therapy. 

That's why in the recent release of mindMender Traffic Controller we added scoring that tracks achievements for the specific difficulty levels. We also added the capability to print or email the progress graph so a therapist or clinician can view progress. You can read more and download the latest version at .

All the best,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Digital Technology and Brain Health by 2020 - Are You Ready?

Here's an interesting infographic from SHARPBRAINS.  They estimate that the global digital healthcare market revenue will grow by over 500% to $6B between 2012 and 2020.  

Here's the kicker, 73% of 3,000 decision makers and early adopters agree that digital technologies can significantly compliment other behavioral and drug-based interventions.  The next 10 years are going to be very interesting....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Therapeutic Alternatives - Consider Mobile Apps

If you're not already a reader, here's a great website with an RSS feed of regular articles about mobile devices in health care.  There are even some articles about mobile devices and stroke rehabilitation but the list is still too short.  Many still don't consider mobile devices or mobile apps when exploring alternatives for stroke rehabilitation.

The Stroke Wise Blog has a great list of iPad apps that can be used in stroke or TBI rehabilitation-

Also look at what we're doing at the mindMender Project.  Our recent game, Traffic Controller, was developed specifically for stroke and TBI patients by incorporating:
  1. Uncluttered and easy to navigate screens
  2. User controlled levels of difficulty
  3. Graph of scores over time to show progress
  4. (Future) Apple Game Center integration
  5. (Future) Option to email or print graph showing progress
Successful rehabilitation gives the patient a sense of autonomy, competence and social recognition. Our game is designed so that the patient is in charge by playing the game unassisted.  They can quickly gain competence by choosing the level of play that fits their current skill level.  And lastly, when we incorporate the Apple Game Center in the next release, they will be able to share their scores and accomplishments with other players.

The next time you're looking for therapeutic alternatives think mobile - there might be an app for that.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Struggling to find games for brain injury patients?

Are you looking for a game to augment therapy for your stroke or TBI patients?

Have you been struggling to use games in therapy that aren't really  designed for users with brain injuries? 

Are you finding most games for the iPad too difficult for unassisted use?

Traffic Controller from the mindMender Project is designed for use by various levels of stroke and TBI patients to help recover fine and gross motor functionality. Some unique features are:

  • It is specifically designed for stroke and TBI survivors
  • Scores are graphed over time to show progress
  • The interface is uncluttered and promotes unassisted use

You all our iPad apps at

All the best,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stroke Wise - An Excellent Resource Blog

Just found an excellent blog with a wealth of information at There is a ton of resources for after acute care (AAC) stroke survivors and caregivers. Hope this is helpful.

Also check out what we're doing at the mindMender Project at

All the Best,

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Technologies for Stroke Rehabilitation

Hindawi Journal of Stroke Research and Treatment has published a new issue focused on New Technologies for Stroke Rehabilitation. There are a number of interesting articles but one in particular caught my eye. Titled Seven Capital Devices for the Future of Stroke Rehabilitation it explores recent work with some very high-tech devices.

Item eight in the list is the tablet-pc, including the iPad, confirms that our work at the mindMender Project will not be in vain. Working at the intersection of mobile technology and neurorehabilitation is the new frontier of stroke and TBI rehabilitation.

Check out our apps for the iPad at We have an exercise book, mindMender GMS, and a new engaging and entertaining game,  mindMender Traffic Controller.

All The Best,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Competitive Plasticity

Michael Merzenich discovers "competitive plasticity" in the early '70's.
"The competitive nature of plasticity affects us all. There is an endless war of nerves going on inside each of our brains. If we stop exercising our mental skills, we do not just forget them: the brain map space for those skills is turned over to the skills we practice instead. If you ever ask yourself, "How often must I practice French, or guitar, or math to keep on top of it?" You are asking a question about competitive plasticity. You're asking how frequently you must practice one activity to make sure its brain map space is not lost to another."
     The BRAIN That CHANGES ITSELF, Norman Droidge, M.D.
We should never give up exercising our brain. It seems obvious from his work that stroke recovery must be regular and consistent to avoid competitive plasticity.

Checkout the mindMender Project. We are focusing on the intersection of mobile technology and neurorehabilitation. It is where you can make your contributions about how we can leverage mobile technology to improve rehabilitation for stroke and TBI survivors.

See how we're contributing with entertaining games and exercises designed specifically with stroke TBI survivors in mind at

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Building Herself A Better Brain

Just started reading The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M. D.

Chapter two, Building Herself A Better Brain, is about Barbara Arrowsmith Young who is that rare person who makes the discovery and is the one with the defect.

Her brain was "asymmetrical". Her exceptional abilities coexisted with areas of retardation.

The chapter is about her discovery and leverage of the brain's plasticity and her dogged determination to train highly developed areas of her brain to take over for retarded areas.

The rest of her story is truly amazing so I won't spoil it for you. If you've not yet read the book it's worth the time. The first chapter about "A Woman Perpetually Falling" is equally if not more amazing.

I encourage you to read it.

Visit our website to see what we're doing at the intersection of mobile technology and neurorehabilitation.

mindMender Flight Controller game

The new mindMender game is almost ready for general consumption!  Just putting a few final touches on version 1.0 and it will be ready to upload to the App Store.

Advantages of this game are:
  • Multiple skill levels that don't change unless you want them to change.  This allows the user to excel at a level before having to move to the next.
  • Graphical view of previous scores to view how the user is improving over time
  • Uncluttered interface to promote unassisted play
These advantages make it a perfect game for recovering motor skills lost due to stroke or traumatic brain injury.

I'll keep you posted.  The new game should be available on the App Store in a few weeks after the App Store review process.

Here are some screen shots.