RARE Daily

Video Game Designed to Help Kids with SMA Maintain Abilities

December 14, 2022

Raft Digital Therapeutics and Biogen Canada have launched a demo version of Cloud Bazaar, an interactive therapeutic video game that promotes physical activity in young players with the rare and progressive neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy maintain physical abilities and improve health outcomes.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem, resulting in severe and progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. Due to a deletion of, or mutation in, the SMN1 gene, people with SMA do not produce enough survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, which is critical for the maintenance of motor neurons. The severity of SMA correlates with the amount of SMN protein an individual has. Ultimately, individuals with SMA can become paralyzed and have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing.

The game tracks and responds to movements through the built-in camera on players’ computers as they navigate increasingly difficult levels. Players must fly an airship that protects the fictional city of the Cloud Bazaar. To do so, they are challenged to complete a set of guided movements that were developed in consultation with, and based on, feedback from neuromuscular disease experts and youth in the SMA community.

“The most important aspect of developing the Cloud Bazaar to us was getting active participation and feedback from young people living with SMA,” said Raft CEO Geoff Frost. “Our intention is to build a gaming experience that’s not only physically beneficial and enriching for players, but that’s fun and engaging so they’re keen to keep integrating therapeutic exercise into their everyday lives. Their involvement was central to making this happen.”

Cloud Bazaar is free, web-based, and doesn’t require a console. It is available in English and French. The demo is available for download on Windows.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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