Playing Wii can help stroke patients recover faster

It was recently found that recovering stroke patients undergoing physical therapy respond better to Wii based rehabilitation than with the standard regimen.

According to Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto, Canada, the Wii platform showed potential in helping patients with stroke. Dr. Saposnik also quipped that based on their study they concluded that using this gaming platform is “doable, safe, and more effective than routine therapy”.

The Nintendo Wii is a gaming platform that uses the player’s physical movement (by usingĀ  the wireless motion sensor remote control) to control the actual game. Think of it as an interactive, “virtual reality” gaming console.

The study conducted by Dr. Saposnik divided 20 stroke survivors, with an average age of 61 years old, into two groups: one using the conventional therapy while the other using Wii. Both groups underwent intensive therapy for two weeks with eight 60 minute sessions each. During the course of the research, it was shown that the group that used the Wii console showed 30% more improvement over the group that used conventional methods. Aside from the large margin of improvement gained from such method, the practicality of this technique was also pointed out. Patients may now have the option to use this at home since the technology is readily available.

Nintendo, the developer of the said console, did not fund the research made by Dr. Saposnik.

For more information about stroke recovery, please visit the National Stroke Association’s website: http://www.stroke.org