Guitar Hero 2 As Therapy

Game Helps Kelly Conquer MS

I’m sure that a lot of you are aware of a little title called Halo 3. Yes, it has taken over my personal life as well. Taken over too much, in fact, that I am unable to provide a full commentary this week.

However a friend of mine, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, wanted to use my commentary section to discuss how a simple guitar based rhythm game such as Guitar Hero 2 is helping her out with her symptoms. We love to highlight how video games are helping people in different ways, and hope that the advice that Kelly gives can be a help to others. So let me introduce my good friend Kelly Adams, who will be taking over the column this week, while I take on the covenant.

Take it away, Kelly.

Thanks Todd. As background, in 1999 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system. Basically, your own immune system goes haywire and attacks sections of the myelin (coating) and axons (nerve). There is no known cause or cure and every case is different. I’m currently on an approved treatment drug, take several prescription medications, and participate in an exercise class for people with MS.

I also write short stories and read several books each month to help with cognitive dysfunction, one of my problem symptoms. My top three are fatigue, spastic muscles, and cognitive (attention, concentration, and short term memory).

Playing GH 2 was adding positively to my treatment results and I never expected it. I started playing a career on easy and then worked up from there. As the progression in difficulty increased, my fingers started loosening up. I noticed hand strength improved as well as my dexterity.

Certain mundane tasks throughout the day were suddenly easier to do, like typing. Hitting those difficult fret combinations were paying off for me in more ways than a good score. My concentration, well more like lack of, was improving too. I can only assume that this was from trying to hit every note on a song while staring at the screen. Everyone knows that with practice you will become better and I’m happy to say that this applies to me in more ways than one, so I still continue to play when possible.

I’m not saying that everyone with MS should play Guitar Hero, but they should stay as active as possible and do not knock anything until they try it. Oh, and before you ask, yes I have Guitar Hero III pre-ordered and I’m still working on Jordan on expert!

I do not expect to get as much GH 2 time in now that Halo 3 is out. Todd is currently helping me out with some co-op on the campaign, so I returned the favor by writing my GH 2 experience for him.

And now back to Todd”

And the return is greatly appreciated, Kelly. Thanks for taking the time to offer your insight on this matter. And as for Guitar Hero III, count me in, but you’d better be prepared to get a perfect note streak on Dragonforce’s “Through the Fire and Flames” on expert. In the meantime, see you in Halo 3!

To find out more about multiple sclerosis and what you can do to help, check out
The National MS Society and face of MS. . (second row down, eleventh from the left.)

Kelly’s MS chapter can also be reached at
Fight MS Today.

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