Video games aid stroke patients in rehabilitation in Australia

Updated: 2012-07-20 10:12


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Video games are an effective rehabilitation tool for stroke patients, an Australian neurophysiologist said on Thursday.

Dr Penelope McNulty at Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney leads a team that has developed a new stroke rehabilitation therapy which uses the Nintendo Wii to help their patients.

McNulty's team has found that an intensive two-week training program based on the Wii could result in significant improvements in the strengthening of muscles and nerves in patients' arms and hands, 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," McNulty said in a statement.

"But we have worked with people who have had strokes one month to 21 years ago, and excitingly, they all improve," she added.

McNulty said the Wii was fun and inexpensive to use.

"This type of rehabilitation motivates participants to actually complete their therapy, which is essential for maximum recovery," she said.

Neuroscience Research Australia is working on ways to make the therapy available across the country as there are over 60,000 strokes in the nation each year.