Wii Games Help to Restore Motor Functions After Stroke

Feb 26, 2010
The popular virtual reality games using Wii technology can be good for people, who want to improve their motor function after stroke.

Researchers studied how Wii and other virtual games can help stroke patients recover better. The study involved 20 patients aged 61 on average, who were recovering from mild or moderate ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. The participants were asked to play different games with total of eight sessions, lasting for an hour each of them, over two weeks. One group of participants were playing Wii™ games, like Wii™ tennis or Wii™ Cooking Mama and the other group had common leisure games such as cards, a block staking and balancing game.

The findings showed that virtual reality games are effective and safe for use in stroke patients. The study also found that the motor functions of the stroke patients improved significantly after the use of Wii™ games. Scientists pointed out that patients, who were playing Wii™, showed better fine and gross motor functions.

Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at the Li Ka Shing Institute, St. Michael's Hospital and the leading author of the study explains that virtual reality games use high-intensity and repetitive tasks that stimulate special neurons in the brain, which is important for recovery of the stroke patients. Wii™ games uses wireless controller that is able to detect movements and interact wit the user, giving an immediate feedback.

The study was presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2010.