Strokes are increasingly common due to a general
increase in life expectancy. The major problem posed by stroke is that it
disables patients and makes them dependent on others for basic needs. Some
patients gain partial or complete function with rehabilitation; however
rehabilitation is not easily accessible to all. In some other cases, patients
are not compliant with rehabilitation techniques and may prefer traditional
One of the
therapies adopted for treating weakness of upper arm due to stroke is called
. In this approach, use of the affected hand is forced by restricting
the use of the good hand. This approach brings about improvement in functional
activity of the affected arm. The benefits were better and persisted longer
when this technique was combined with structured learning and intense practice.
Virtual reality has also been used in order to make
rehabilitation more interesting. Though results have been promising, the
technical difficulties in terms of high cost, the requirement of trained staff
and the difficulty in transportation of equipment limits its use on a large
use of gaming systems has been investigated for the rehabilitation of stroke
victims. One such system is the Nintendo (Kyoto, Japan) Wii™. Scientists have
developed a treatment that uses this gaming device to improve limb function.
recently published paper reports the use of Wii-based Movement Therapy in
patients between 22 and 83 years of age and 1 month to 21 years post stroke
with minor to severe impairment. The patients underwent intensive treatment for
a brief period of 14 days. In this therapy, the patients used "Wii
Sports" (Nintendo, Kyoto, Japan) games like golf, tennis, bowling,
baseball, and boxing in a well-structured manner to improve movements of the
treatment according to the protocol, all the patients included in the study
improved from 25 to 40 percent with therapy, as well as gained some
independence with respect to basic activities of daily life.
This type of treatment is not only enjoyable for the
patient; it also has some other advantages. It does not require constant
supervision by a specialist, the equipment is easy to install, and may be also
used in stroke patients with low functional ability who may not qualify for
exact mechanism in which Wii-based Movement Therapy benefits stroke patients
has not been studied, it nevertheless appears to be an effective and enjoyable
method to rehabilitate stroke patients with upper limb weakness.
Games for Rehabilitation: Wii-based Movement Therapy Improves Poststroke
Movement Ability; Penelope A. McNulty. Games for Health Journal. October 2012,
1(5): 384-387. doi:10.1089/g4h.2012.0055.