Nintendo Wii helps stroke patients recover

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Stroke patients considered too far gone to regain use of affected limbs are now showing signs of recovery because of a new therapy that utilises the Nintendo Wii.

Penelope McNulty, neurophysiologist at Neuroscience Research Australia, shows that an intensive, two-week training programme based on the Wii can bring about significant improvements in the way stroke patients are able to use their limbs, even for people that had a stroke many years ago.

"It was previously thought that the movement and function stroke patients had at the time they left hospital was the only recovery they would make. But we have worked with people who have had strokes one month to 21 years ago, and excitingly, they all improve," says McNulty, according to a Neuroscience Research statement.

"The Wii is inexpensive, easy to use and, very importantly, fun. This type of rehabilitation motivates participants to actually complete their therapy, which is essential for maximum recovery," McNulty says.

"Everyone notices improvements not just using the Wii, but in activities they do every day, such as opening a door or using a fork."

The findings were presented at the international conference of the Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology in Brisbane.

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