Wii-Gaming Could Aid Stroke RehabBy Mozes, Alan; HealthDay News,
Publication Date: February 25, 2010
Article discusses the effectiveness of Wii video games as a component of physical therapy regimens for stroke patients. The Nintendo Wii gaming system allows players to physically interact in real time with images displayed on TV screens through the use of wireless motion detection remote controls. A pilot study is cited, undertaken at the University of Toronto in Canada, which compared the safety and effectiveness of Wii-based therapy to conventional physical therapy for 20 patients with an average age of 61 years who were recovering from mild to moderate stroke. The participants were randomly divided into two groups to receive either standard recreational therapy for impaired arms or Wii-based therapy, playing virtual tennis or cooking virtually (Wii Cooking Mama). Both therapies were administered in eight 60-minute sessions spread over two weeks, and launched within two months following stroke occurrence. Following the intervention, the Wii group showed a 30 percent improvement over the standard therapy group in the patients’ affected arms, as measured in terms of the speed and grip strength necessary for normal motor function. No evidence of safety risk was found among the Wii group. Wii-based therapy could be a valuable approach as rehabilitation is time consuming, and not always available to all patients due to cost and insurance constraints. However, researchers caution that a larger study, already underway, should be completed before any recommendations are made.
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