Posted on Nov 24, 2008

The College recently received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore how interactive digital gaming can improve the health behaviors and outcomes for people age 50 and older.

The College joins 11 other research teams who will receive up to $200,000 each from the foundation’s Health Games Research program to measure the effects that playing video games has on the young and the old.

Projects range from how motion-based games may help stroke patients progress faster in physical therapy to how people in substance abuse treatment can practice skills and behaviors in the virtual world of a game to prevent real-world relapses.

At Union, researchers will spend two years examining the physiological and neuropsychological impact of cybercycling on area seniors. Players on a stationary bike will be monitored for heart rate, body composition, cognitive function, social relationships and other measures while racing against a virtual cycling partner.

Cay Anderson-Hanley, assistant professor of psychology, is the project’s lead researcher. She is collaborating with Paul Arciero, an associate professor of exercise science at Skidmore College.

A reporter and photographer from the Times Union recently sat in on an excercise session. To read the story, click here (registration may be required).

To view a clip of the research, click here.