While having a pet can bring a smile to your face, animals can do so much more than that –they can help with brain injuries!

Individuals with brain injuries are more likely to display problems in their social behavior – they may suffer from “reduced emotional empathy and show impaired emotional expression, all contributing to communicative problems in social interactions.” (“Animal-assisted”, 2019).

Animals have begun being used in therapy to engage patients and to re-train positive social habits – a study performed by the University of Basel analyzed 19 adults with over “200 animal-assisted and conventional therapy sessions.” The study analyzed patient mood and motivation overall as these individuals were exposed to animals such as guinea pigs, miniature pigs, rabbits, and sheep (“Animal-assisted”, 2019).

It was found that patients expressed “nearly twice as many positive emotions and communicated more frequently both verbally and non-verbally,” – patients were much more motivated to also engage in therapy sessions, and were not influenced negatively at all by the animals (“Animal-assisted”, 2019).

“Animals can be relevant therapeutic partners, because they motivate patients to care for the animal. Secondly, animals provide a stimulus for patients to actively engage in the therapeutic activities,” stated Dr. Karin Hediger of the University of Basel (“Animal-assisted”, 2019).

Reference: University of Basel. (2019, April 9). Animal-assisted therapy improves social behavior in patients with brain injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 14, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190409083230.htm