Nintendo Wii and Adult Arthritis

April 22, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Whether the Nintendo Wii game system can help against arthritis in older adults, are being investigated by three Longwood University researchers.

Yes, you heard it right. The Nintendo Wii game system. Against arthritis in older adults? That which if really true, remains to be seen.

Hmmm…Nintendo Wii?! What about for somebody like me who doesn’t get such kinds of games at all. Maybe it isn’t too late to give it try.

Reported at Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The three faculty members in the department of health, recreation and kinesiology are measuring the game’s effects on the lower extremity endurance and the range of shoulder motion of nine people who have arthritis.

The subjects meet once a week in an on-campus classroom to play a simulated bowling video game, with the simulated results displayed on a large television screen in front of them.

Specifically the Wii Bowling for these older adults suffering from arthritis.

According to Dr. Susan Lynch, one of the project’s leaders and teaches in the Therapeutic Recreation program:

“We’re trying to determine if there is a difference between the experimental group, which is those nine people, and the control group, which consists of eight people, also older adults with arthritis, who are not doing the bowling but are still being measured.

Our hypothesis is that the range of motion of their dominant shoulder – the one they bowl with – will improve as well as that their lower extremity endurance will increase. There have been lots of news articles recently about Wii bowling, but I don’t think there’s been a study as to its effectiveness in rehabilitation. We’re trying to prove that Wii works.

They have to follow a certain bowling protocol, which is the proper bowling technique.There’s also a social aspect, just like in regular bowling. We sit around and eat lunch and have snacks.”

Why the Wii sports games instead of the real bowling thing? Because the Wii bowling is a lot less repetitive and painful than traditional therapy. If Wii sports games can be the new craze rehab therapy for patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, surgery and even combat injuries, why not see if it will work for arthritis?

Wii sports games, which are less repetitive and less painful than traditional therapy, are “fast becoming a craze in rehab therapy for patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, surgery and even combat injuries,” according to a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“Wii games require body movements similar to traditional therapy exercises…Patients become so engrossed mentally that they’re almost oblivious to the rigor. Some call it Wiihabilitation.”

I will like very much to see how this investigation will work out.

Find more details from Longwood University.

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