We know the Wii brand has often been promoted to push activity and fitness, but a preliminary study reported in Medpage Today suggests that Wii games, and specifically the Balance Board, can play a role in strengthening the balance of Parkinson’s patients.

According to the report, the “use of the Nintendo Wii virtual reality game” was incorporated as part of a regimen for Parkinson’s disease sufferers. Participants in the study, whose ages averaged 63 years, played three different Wii games in addition to treadmill and cycling routines. Those who exercised this way showed improved balance and gait on quantitative medical scales.

Antonella Peppe, PhD, a research professor at the Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, said data from the study points toward the Wii Balance Board having potential as an aid in Parkinson’s therapy programs:

The ability of the Wii Balance Board to stimulate the central nervous system makes it potentially useful in the rehabilitation of balance problems in patients with Parkinson's disease. Our results allow us to confirm that the Wii is an excellent tool that can compete with other devices in the rehabilitation of Parkinson's disease.

Given that this is a preliminary study, more research must be conducted to form more concrete results regarding the impact of the Wii and Balance Board. Jennifer Trilk, PhD, clinical assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, has noted that the treadmill and cycling exercises may have a greater role in improving gait, and that the design of the Balance Board may limit its ability to be used by a number of patients. Even so, she still says uses of the Balance board “show promise.”

Has the use of Wii games or the Balance Board ever improved your life in a certain way? Let us know.

[source medpagetoday.com]