Wii-based Rehab Helps Stroke Victims Recover Motor Skills

Initial results from a University of Toronto study seem to indicate that using Nintendo’s Wii can assist stroke victims in regaining and improving motor skills.

The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Using Wii Gaming Technology in Stroke Rehabilitation (EVREST) Study utilized twenty stroke survivors with an average age of 61. Those studied were split into two groups, with one group playing recreational games (card games, Jenga etc…), while the other group played Wii Tennis or Cooking Mama. There were eight sessions over two weeks that lasted about 60 minutes each.

While one Wii user reported nausea or dizziness as a side-effect, researchers found that the Wii users exhibited “significant motor improvement in speed and extent of recovery.”

Study lead Gustavo Saposnik stated:

The beauty of virtual reality is that it applies the concept of repetitive tasks, high-intensity tasks and task-specific activities, that activates special neurons…

Basically, we found that patients in the Wii group achieved a better motor function, both fine and gross, manifested by improvement in speed and grip strength. But it is too early to recommend this approach generally. A larger, randomized study is needed and is underway.

The research was funded by grants from the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSFO) and the Ontario Stroke System (OSS).

|Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer|

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