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.
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.