How the Nintendo Wii could help Parkinson's sufferers

1414parkinsons.jpgA British scientist has just been granted £35,000 to play Nintendo Wii games with Parkinson’s sufferers. Dr Cathy Craig of Queen’s University, Belfast won a research grant to test whether exercise on the Wii can help people with Parkinson’s disease.

It seems obvious that the console would help anyone requiring gentle, easily accessible exercise. But because games consoles have been a young person’s toy up till now, it has taken a while for everyone to catch on to just how useful the games gadget could be in rehabilitating people with muscle problems for whatever reason.

Parkinson’s UK awarded the grant because they have received overwhelming feedback from people with Parkinson’s who find that using a Wii is a really good way to exercise at home and has helped them with their balance, movements and mood.

The research aims to address two questions:
— Does the use of the Wii system improve the physical abilities and lifestyle of people with Parkinson’s?
— How do the various games improve specific symptoms of Parkinson’s including tremor, slowness of movement and balance?

Two groups of people with Parkinson’s will take part in the research. One group will be asked to use the existing Wii system. The second group will try out new, specially designed bespoke movement-based games.

See more: the Wii on Parkinson’s UK

Anna Leach