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Study Says Mobile APP Helps Teens With Concussions Heal

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center
Rachael Butler used the app after some of her concussion symptoms didn't go away.

Research from Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows teens who used a mobile health app once a day in conjunction with medical care to treat their concussion got better faster than if they did with standard treatment alone.

Jane McGonigal of the Institute for the Future developed the app called SuperBetter after she suffered a concussion. It was originally designed to promote principles of positive psychology, social interaction and gameful design.

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According to the study's author Lise Worthen-Chaudhari, "We found that mobile apps incorporating social game mechanics and a heroic narrative can complement medical care to improve health among teenagers with unresolved concussion symptoms."

Wait, what about not looking at a screen?

Dr. Kelsey Logan, Director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children's says screen time should be limited but teenagers are going to use social media and "We wanted to actually see if we could leverage that to help in their concussion care."

Logan says she wasn't asking them to be on their phone for hours, just five or ten minutes-long enough for them to log  their symptoms and to go  through  "bad guys"  like concentration problems and depression and then learn how to address them.  According to Logan,"The social support aspect, the reminder of how they can cope with their injury and just feel more optimistic toward their recovery is probably helping here.

Results of the study are published online in the journal Brain Injury.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.