27 September 2008

Nintendo Wii Provides Not Only Fun and Exercise but Rehabilitation Benefits too

Nintendo Wii, the popular gaming system, not just combines fun and exercise, but also holds rehabilitation benefits for those suffering from cerebral palsy, says a new study.

The UMDNJ case study, namely "Use of a Low-Cost, Commercially Available Gaming Console (Wii) for Rehabilitation of an Adolescent with Cerebral Palsy," focused on use of the Nintendo Wii for rehabilitation of a teen with cerebral palsy.

The case study of the 13-year-old male with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy has shown physical therapy benefits resulting from the use of Wii, a relatively low-cost, commercially available, interactive gaming system.

In a school-based setting, the teen participated in 11 training sessions, over a four-week period, using the Wii while continuing to receive physical and occupational therapy.

The sessions were each between 60 and 90 minutes long and used the Wii sports games software, which offers boxing, tennis, bowling, and golf. He trained in both standing and sitting positions.

"Improvements in visual-perceptual processing, postural control, and functional mobility were measured after training," reported the researchers.

Led by Judith E. Deutsch, PT, Ph.D., professor and director of Research in Virtual Environments and Rehabilitation Sciences (Rivers) Lab in the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science at UMDNJ-SHR, the study is the first published report on using the Wii for rehabilitation.

However, there have been many press reports about use of the Wii in clinical settings as well as some scientific articles on the physiological effects of using the Wii.

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