15 July 2008

Wii may help cerebral palsy sufferers

Updated: 21:44, Sunday July 13, 2008

The must-have Nintendo Wii game may hold unexpected benefits for young cerebral palsy sufferers, according to a new research project set up in Britain.

Older people recovering from strokes have also gained from Nintendo Wii use.

Researchers have been encouraging children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy to play specially-written computer games, in order to improve muscle movement and hand-eye co-ordination.

Around one in 1,000 children suffers from hemiplegia - a type of cerebral palsy that affects one arm and one leg on the same side of the body.

The new games have been designed to improve these children's control of their disabled - or paretic - arm.

Ten children and their families in the North East of England have been trying out the games over the past three months with 'striking' results, according to the scientists involved.

Professor Janet Eyre, leading the research, explained that children with hemiplegia find it difficult to use what she calls their 'never learnt to use arm.'

'The children find it very hard to move this arm so it gets stiffer and stiffer.

'These games mean you have to use two hands co-operatively and we have designed the games so there is quite a lot of eye movement.

'We're trying to use the knowledge we have to create games which are fun to play.'

One of the games involved exploding balloons, with one hand targeting while the other hand fires the gun, Prof Eyre, of Newcastle University's Institute of Neuroscience, said.

'The graphics are quite simple to follow. They're designed to be fun and very competitive.

'There has been a big improvement in arm function and in hand-eye co-ordination. We're getting them to the stage where, without thinking about it, they use that hand.'

1 comment:

  1. Hello Tracy,

    This is an interesting article, and it could be a fun way of exercising, because not everyone enjoys physiotherapy, but this could change the future of therapy.