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STUDY: Does the Wii video game help with balance?

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  • STUDY: Does the Wii video game help with balance?

    This one from 2012 says not really, but a new one published in 2020 says yes. Read on! -D

    Balance exercise for persons with multiple sclerosis using Wii games: a randomised, controlled multi-centre study

    Ylva E Nilsagård1,4
    Anette S Forsberg2
    Lena von Koch3
    1Centre for Health Care Sciences, Örebro County Council, Sweden
    2Family Medicine Research Centre, Örebro County Council, Sweden.
    3Division of Neurology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    4School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Ylva Nilsagård, Centre for Health Care Sciences, Örebro County Council, P.O. Box 1324, SE- 701 13 Örebro, Sweden.


    Background: The use of interactive video games is expanding within rehabilitation. The evidence base is, however, limited.
    Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the effects of a Nintendo Wii Fit® balance exercise programme on balance function and walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

    Methods: A multi-centre, randomised, controlled single-blinded trial with random allocation to exercise or no exercise. The exercise group participated in a programme of 12 supervised 30-min sessions of balance exercises using Wii games, twice a week for 6–7 weeks. Primary outcome was the Timed Up and Go test (TUG). In total, 84 participants were enrolled; four were lost to follow-up.

    Results: After the intervention, there were no statistically significant differences between groups but effect sizes for the TUG, TUGcognitive and, the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) were moderate and small for all other measures. Statistically significant improvements within the exercise group were present for all measures (large to moderate effect sizes) except in walking speed and balance confidence. The non-exercise group showed statistically significant improvements for the Four Square Step Test and the DGI.

    Conclusion: In comparison with no intervention, a programme of supervised balance exercise using Nintendo Wii Fit® did not render statistically significant differences, but presented moderate effect sizes for several measures of balance performance.
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    I have not tried Wii games yet, As I have come to know in this forum that these games which compels someone to dance while playing will obviously help MS, so i am greatly interested and wanna start playing. Thanks for sharing.


    • #3
      Hey all, I love Wii. I Do use balance board and "sports" games that require arm movements. I play with my kids occassionally. Unfortunately wii was discontinued. (I would expect a real gamer to know this - so I throw it out there for all you non-gamers. Also, as far as cool factor, Wii is well not ) But Good news is that if interested in awesome balance board technigy, you can still find used wii games/ consoles pretty cheap at local Gameshop or on Ebay. Look for balance board and games or wii fitness games that use it. The controllers and nunchucks will encourage range of motion and movement. I've picked up quite a few fitness wii games at local charity thrift. My local charity usually has 1 or 2 wii consoles available for sale.


      • #4
        This newest Wii study found notable benefit. -D

        Objective evaluation of Nintendo Wii Fit Plus balance program training on postural stability in Multiple Sclerosis patients: a pilot study

        Cimino, Vincenzoa; Chisari, Clara Graziab; Raciti, Gianfrancob; Russo, Annab; Veca, Donatab; Zagari, Francescob; Calabrò, Rocco Salvatorea; Patti, Francescob

        International Journal of Rehabilitation Research: May 2, 2020


        The use of the Nintendo Wii system has become a common tool for balance rehabilitation in patients with multiple sclerosis, but few studies verified the effectiveness of such an approach using quantitative measures of postural control. We aimed to evaluate the impact of rehabilitation treatment using the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus balance program on objective stabilometric parameters in multiple sclerosis patients.

        We enrolled 36 multiple sclerosis patients, with mild-moderate disability, referring to the multiple sclerosis Centre of the University of Catania from September 2013 to June 2014. Twenty participants underwent 20 individual sessions of balance exercise using the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus. They were assessed at baseline (T0) and at the end of rehabilitation program (T1) by Neurocom Balance Manager. Functional independence measure, Barthel index, and Berg balance scale were also administered.

        At T1, we found a significant improvement in total path length-open eyes, sway area-open eyes, and mean sway velocity-open eyes. Patients showed significant improvement in functional independence measure motor score, Barthel index, and in Berg balance scale. No significant differences between T0 and T1 in closed eyes trials were found. A significant correlation between delta values between T0 and T1 of sway area-open eyes and the Berg balance scale (r = −0.76; P < 0.0001) was found.

        This study confirmed that balance rehabilitation training performed using the Nintendo Wii with balance board significantly reduced some postural sway parameters in multiple sclerosis patients. It could be a good support to standard rehabilitation program in multiple sclerosis patients.
        Dave Bexfield


        • #5
          I still have my older Wii Fit board, hand controls (including archery triggers), and I still find it an absolute blast! I still fall over in any balance scenarios, but I have fun, anyway!
          There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear and clothing.