A computer game called Captain’s Log, implemented by clinicians from the Michigan State University, helps children in Uganda to rehabilitate from a devastating central nervous system complication of malaria:
Michael Boivin, a Michigan State University associate professor of neurology and ophthalmology and of psychiatry, and Bruno Giordani, a University of Michigan associate professor of psychiatry, are leading the project.
“So far as we know, this will be the first attempt to implement a cognitive rehabilitation training program in Uganda with children in the aftermath of brain injury,” Boivin said. “Such programs for children with special needs are readily available in America, and in other parts of the developed world, but not in Africa.”
Every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria – around 1 million every year, he said. Cerebral malaria is a severe form of malaria that affects the brain and is fatal in about 15 percent to 30 percent of the cases for hospitalized children.
“Our most recent follow-up evaluation of our cerebral malaria children indicates that 26 percent of them have persisting mild to moderate cognitive impairment, mostly in the area of attention and to some extent in visual-spatial working memory,” Boivin said.
The computer game is a comprehensive set of computerized cognitive training programs consisting of five modules including developmental, visual motor skills, conceptual skills, numeric concepts with memory skills and attention skills.