Nintendo Wii improves the functionality, balance and daily activities of stroke patients

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A study by the Faculty of Physiotherapy of the University of Valencia (UV), in collaboration with the Autonomous University of Madrid, has shown that a physiotherapy program that uses the Nintendo Wii console improves functionality, balance and activities daily use of patients who have suffered a stroke or stroke. The research, published in Journal of the American Association of Medical Directors (JAMDA), uses an innovative and efficient and low-cost method compared to more conventional physiotherapy techniques.

The article explains that when the virtual reality of the Wii is added to conventional physiotherapy techniques, the benefits are significant. . In addition to improvements in functionality and balance, the study shows that the physiotherapy program the Wii uses helps improve the daily activities of stroke patients.

Previous studies had already shown that the Wii can help conventional treatment to improve the functionality of some chronic diseases, but so far there was little evidence in people who had suffered a stroke. “Before conducting the study we realized that not much research had been done with stroke patients, so we wanted to know if console games could promote mobility, balance and the day-to-day life of the patients. people with this pathology, “says Elena Marqués, one of the researchers and professor of Physiotherapy at UV.

The research divided 29 patients into two groups depending on whether they used the Wii and conventional techniques or whether they only had traditional performance. exercises. “The sample is relatively large considering that it is made up of patients who have suffered a stroke, as they have many , its treatment is usually much more individualized than that of other pathologies “, says the author.

As the study explains, these video games allow therapists to design rehabilitation programs that improve the principles of brain plasticity. But not only that, the console provides real-time answers in terms of performance and progress, which can increase patient motivation, fun, and adherence to treatment. “It should be noted that some patients have not performed any exercise before, regardless of the pathology they have, so presenting as a game can be an incentive,” says Marqués.

Another advantage of the Wii that the researcher points out is that it is easy to use, relatively affordable, and most importantly, can be used individually and at home, without having to travel to a rehab center. As the Physiotherapy teacher has pointed out, this has been very helpful especially during confinement.

However, this study marks only one of the first efforts to console research as a physiotherapeutic option. It can be used with patients with other pathologies, “because it allows you to work the balance with the console table, both in the chronic phase and in the subacute phase,” says Marqués.

Strengthening of mirror neurons

One of the most common tools on the Wii is the , but another feature of the console is a balance table that detects weight transfer by reflecting it in an avatar on the screen, which allows the patient to observe their own movements and generate .

Thus, when the person observes their movements, the plasticity changes that depend on the use of the sensory areas of the mirror neuron system are reinforced. This exemplifies, among other factors, the improvements the Wii can provide in these patients. In addition, this feedback could lead to a strengthening of the learning mechanisms of different motor and sensory activities that would ultimately improve the quality of life.


Nintendo Wii can help improve balance in children with cerebral palsy


More information:
Elena Marques-Sule et al, Effectiveness of the Nintendo Wii and Physical Therapy in Functionality, Balance, and Daily Activities in Chronic Stroke Patients, Journal of the American Association of Medical Directors (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.jamda.2021.01.076

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Citation: Nintendo Wii Improves Functionality, Balance, and Daily Activities of Stroke Patients (2021, June 9) Retrieved June 9, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-nintendo-wii -functionality-daily-patients.html

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