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Medicine Entertainment Games

Wii Boosts Parkinson's Treatments 122

Posted by kdawson
from the name-was-inevitable dept.
mmmscience writes "Scientists are investigating the use of Wii Sports as a form of treatment for Parkinson's sufferers. After a four-week study, researchers found that rounds of tennis, bowling, and boxing improved rigidity, movement, fine motor skills, and energy levels as well as decreasing the occurrence of depression. It is thought that combining exercise with video games helps to increase levels of dopamine, a chemical that is deficient in Parkinson's. The therapy is gaining notoriety under the name Wii-hab."
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Wii Boosts Parkinson's Treatments

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  • ...lol (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:03AM (#28308483)
    In other news: Exercise is good for you. No matter how flimsy the method you use.
    • by stmok (1331127)

      Isn't it more cost effective to make exercise fun, rather than spend money on Wii and its accessories?
      => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iYBmAVuBns [youtube.com]

      • Re:...lol (Score:5, Informative)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:21AM (#28308759) Journal

        No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

        The trick is getting yourself to start exercising in the first place. A sufficiently addictive game would be a good incentive. The best incentive I ever had was a girl in my neighborhood who ran at roughly the same time every day in nothing but skimpy spandex.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          did you ever 'catch up' to her?

          I agree though, it's all about making a good incentive. The wii happens to be an easy one, so I see nothing wrong with that. People used super nintendo and other systems prior, so this is not a new idea. It's just more involved and simpler now.

          • Re:...lol (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:39AM (#28308973) Journal

            I'm a bit weird. The more beautiful I think a girl is, the less inclined I am to talk to her...Not because I'm intimidated, but because I worry that she'll open her mouth and say something moronic, and that'll spoil it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by xenolion (1371363)
              been there done that, just mute them in your head it makes life better.
            • than seeing a hot chick, taking in her attractiveness

              and then she brings a cigarette to her mouth

              instant killjoy

              • by jhol13 (1087781)

                A friend of mine used to say "would you kiss an ashtray".

              • Meh. An oral fixation is an oral fixation ;)

                The thing that turns me off more than anything else is people who walk around with an unpleasant look on their face all the time. It's like a subtle mirror of the soul. If someone, no matter how pretty otherwise, walks around 24/7 with that borderline bitchy sneer grafted to their face...Yech.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                Wait, you avoid women with an oral fixation~

              • than seeing a hot chick, taking in her attractiveness

                and then she brings a cigarette to her mouth

                instant killjoy

                Funny, I always thought of it as a promising sign.

                A woman that will put a cigarette in her mouth, will put anything in her mouth!

              • Seeing a hot chick, taking in her attractiveness

                and then "she" walks into the mens room

              • Whooo instant me :D

            • by sorak (246725)
              Oh....The Jessica Simpson effect?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by NotWithABang (1570431)
              You know, I don't think that makes you weird, I'm in the same boat.

              When I was younger I spent more than my fair share of time with "the hotties" (yes yes, i know, slashdotters don't get hot girls, he's lying, etc etc) and I really started to detest them. From their lack of original or relevant thought to their pointless conversation-killing automated responses to their reflex-like "look-cute" maneuver any time they wanted to escape accountability (which, incidentally, was ALWAYS), I just couldn't stand
            • by geekoid (135745)

              "The more beautiful I think a girl is, the less inclined I am to talk to her."

              That actually happens a lot. In fact, once a learned that, I made a point of talking to the most beautiful women in a room.
              I scored a lot more often with the super hot chick then with an 'average' looking woman.

              When I was looking to score, I couldn't care less if she said something stupid. Just as long as we were clear it was just a brief encounter.

              Read Feynman's stuff on this, he had it right.

        • Re:...lol (Score:5, Funny)

          by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:31AM (#28308875) Homepage Journal
          Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions.

          You mean I need to be vomiting, cumming and having explosive diarrhea to have sex? No thanks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MobyDisk (75490)

          Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

          I can't debate the physiology of this, but I don't think the effect is universal. I have friends who love to lift weights, and others who love to run. I hate both: The only thing it makes me feel is tired and hungry. I've hear them wax poetically about loving "the burn" or "the runners high" and I've gone with them, and never felt it.

          However, I love to play DDR and Ultimate Frisbee. I could play any of those until my body can't take any more - and then I keep going. It is not the physical activity

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

            Personally, once my heart rate gets up I feel great. I spend my whole exercise cycle thinking, "Jesus, why don't I do this 3 times a day?" Then I hit the cool-down period, and all the pain catches up, and I stagger around for an hour or so wondering if I'm going to die.

            I don't do weights though. It's only cardio that makes me feel good. And even there, I have to be moving. Riding an exercise bike is a chore. The only "stationary" cardio I can do for any period of time is jumping rope, because it's entertain

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by omris (1211900)

            I can't speak definitively on the physiology here, but I don't think it's really quite that subjective. People respond to intense aerobic exercise with dopamine release, the same way that people release insulin in response to glucose. Some people might have flaws in that system, but overall, this is "how it works". I believe the system is designed to make you able to keep going even when running started being unpleasant, since if you are running, it's most likely (in the long term scheme at least) becaus

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by david.given (6740)

          Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

          Only if you're lucky.

          Some people have bodies tuned to do this. You're obviously one of them, and I envy you: you get rewarded for exercise. Other people don't. I find exercise uncomfortable, very hard work, and unutterably dull. I don't zone out, I don't get endorphins, I just have to keep working at it, and it never gets any easier --- if I train, all that happens is that I can keep going longer, which means I can prolong the agony. Some reward.

          And yes, I am doing it right. A couple of years ago I ent

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            And yes, I am doing it right. A couple of years ago I entered a 10km road race in my town, and with that deadline as an incentive I carefully trained up over a couple of months, and eventually did the race and got a decent time (about 1 hour 5 minutes, IIRC). I've still got the pot-metal medal they gave me for completing it somewhere. Did I get a feeling of accomplishment for doing this? Yes. Was it worth my time? No, not really.

            I posit that there is some other form of physical exertion that would give you more of a mental/emotional positive-feedback loop, which will help push you to that physical state of endorphin-induced satori. Maybe it's marathons, maybe it's marathon orgies; for me Mountain Biking is the only all-physical sport (I am the only engine - I bike up, too, which is the tedious part) which holds my interest enough to get me into that state.

            Think of it like sex; you ran the race, that's like getting your nut. Sure, y

          • No need to be defensive. Everyone is different.

            It definitely does matter how crazy you are in the long term, however. I ran competitively for 7 years, and topped 15 miles a day for 3 of those years. Doesn't take much to to make me feel good when I'm running (and I have wicked knee problems now, so I'm not in any kind of great shape).

            Still it's always going to be work. Due to my knee issues, I need a lot of warm up and cool down, and I tend to feel like crap in the mornings, or whenever it rains.

            It definitel

          • re.. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Cedric Tsui (890887)
            I have an (off topic) question for you.

            Hmmm. If you could purchase a discrete device that would release endorphins whenever you were doing exercise. Would you buy it?
            Would you voluntarily rewire yourself?
        • Re:...lol (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday June 12, 2009 @12:07PM (#28309359) Homepage

          No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

          Pheh. For some people. Generally, endorphins, the thing that actually gives you the high, doesn't get going until you're a long way into the exercise regimine and even then it usually doesn't counteract the pain and tedium of plain-ol weight lifting, running, or whatever other boring thing.

          I've done em all, regularly for years even, and well I just never saw this "no need to make exercise fun" thing. My friend who was heavily into running and marathons and such, once said when I asked him about runner's high. "That's a bunch of crap," he said, and you only feel it when you've been running for miles anyway. Which is not something Parkinson's sufferers are going to do.

          So yeah. "Exercise" by itself is boring as hell and praying for an endorphine high as payoff isn't going to work for a lot of people. Fun things that also happen to be exercise are fun. I like rock climbing. That gets me going. For others, Wii Sports or Wii Fit might be what they need.

        • Re:...lol (Score:5, Funny)

          by Millennium (2451) on Friday June 12, 2009 @12:14PM (#28309483) Homepage

          No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions.

          I call it: "The Aristocrats!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Prien715 (251944)

          Exercise is like sex

          And sex is exercise.

          You can watch the girl in spandex all you want. I'll be getting my exercise helping her "cool down".

          Giggity.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          No, many people find regular exercise to be a pain in the ass.
          Even the exercise king himself, Jacques Lalanne, talks about what a pain in the ass exercise is, but he does it anyways.

          "The trick is getting yourself to start exercising in the first place"
          Yep.

          "The best incentive I ever had was a girl in my neighborhood who ran at roughly the same time every day in nothing but skimpy spandex."
          You can stay at home, find that on the internet and then burn a few wrist calories .

        • by rpillala (583965)

          I haven't had this experience. Maybe it's because I'm not in very good shape to begin with. When I finally get myself to do some sustained exercise, my body complains and I'm not inclined to go back any time soon.

          I find that I have to be angry to really want to expend the energy to do like an hour or two of working out.

      • Re:...lol (Score:5, Insightful)

        by omris (1211900) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#28308935)

        Well in this study, they mention that they see significant improvements in depression symptoms and dopamine levels, which you don't see with normal exercise, and the researchers hypothesize that something about the video game component is causing this. There are actually quite a few studies finding that using the Wii is an incredibly effective form of rehab. One case report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18689607?ordinalpos=13&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

        And all of the studies refer to it as a "low-cost gaming console". In comparison to traditional rehab, which cost just as much in equipment then add in the billing rate of a physical or occupational therapist, the Wii is dirt cheap.

        • What if I am in rehab for being addicted to video games? Guess this won't help me much... :-(
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anubis IV (1279820)
            Wii Fit includes a 12-step program, and from all the reports I've been hearing, people have been saying that they feel significantly more full of life after going through the program. I might be getting it confused with something else, but I think the steps you go through are Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start.

            Well, that's just 11 steps, but I know it's something like that...
            • by omris (1211900)

              I believe you may have forgotten the SELECT just before the START? That puts you at 12.

              Right on.

              • Heh, good catch. I actually had it in there, but then figured it sounded a bit funnier if I had a follow up comment of some sort, and couldn't think of anything else that was decent.
        • Well in this study, they mention that they see significant improvements in depression symptoms and dopamine levels, which you don't see with normal exercise, and the researchers hypothesize that something about the video game component is causing this. There are actually quite a few studies finding that using the Wii is an incredibly effective form of rehab. One case report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18689607?ordinalpos=13&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

          And all of the studies refer to it as a "low-cost gaming console". In comparison to traditional rehab, which cost just as much in equipment then add in the billing rate of a physical or occupational therapist, the Wii is dirt cheap.

          Hello Omris You are correct...I was working with a TBI client and transitioned the WIi to PD...I now lecture on the use of video games nationally and internationally if you consider Canada international...the future of rehab is there and while it will not replace the theripist...it can be a valuable tool in assisting the healthy, injured , and Ill in gaining function, self worth, and motivation...I am the researcher of this project and the fact that it decreased depression and increased quality of life is

      • Wii does make exercise fun. I think that this is just plain cool.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anubis IV (1279820)
          I can attest to this fact. As someone who hadn't intentionally exercised for more than about 5 days out of the last 5 years, I just started exercising after buying a Wii Fit recently. Laugh all you want, but I've already shed a few pounds, and I figure that there's no point in arguing with results, regardless of how embarrassing it is.
      • Re:...lol (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Firethorn (177587) on Friday June 12, 2009 @02:28PM (#28311611) Homepage Journal

        Isn't it more cost effective to make exercise fun, rather than spend money on Wii and its accessories?

        At ~$340 wouldn't a Wii and accessories be cheaper than most dedicated exercise machines? Not to mention probably take up less space when you consider that you can dual purpose the TVs and use the Wiis for other games or just put them away.

        In any case, 'making exercise fun' might be more expensive than you think. Sure, a class type workout with an instructor can be interesting and effective, but you have to pay the instructor. That gets expensive quick, even if you have a couple dozen in the class.

        Running on a track - boring & painful. Music player of whatever stripe is of limited effectiveness for me.
        Running on a treadmill - even more boring.
        Running on a treadmill with a TV hooked up - better, especially depending on the program. Still limited.

        Using a Wii? Interactive! Real feedback would make it much better. Easier access to exercise tracking can help make sure it remains interesting, tracking stats over time to provide better feedback, etc...

        And with Parkinson's, it's likely that they'd need a physical therapist to design a workout - due to varying abilities it might be difficult to place them in a mass class.

    • Re:...lol (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:35AM (#28308925) Journal
      It's not just the exercise.

      The great thing about today's video games are the reward schedules that make games so damn addictive. These rewards cause dopamine release, which helps offset Parkinson's.

      What I wonder is if there's a "Flowers for Algernon" type effect -- like with Levadopa, is tolerance built up quickly? Do patients doing Wii-hab for Parkinson's need to take a "Wii holiday" the same way Parkinson's patients on Levadopa need to take a drug holiday to reset their tolerance?
      • Exactly. I mostly think of RPGs as a pointless waste of time (apart from the community aspect), because of the grinding often required to get anywhere. The weird thing is though, that when I do play those types of games I still find it easy to get addicted. Combining RPG gameplay with an exercise plan would be an easy way to make it feel more worthwhile.

        In the same way, I taught myself to play drums as my friends and I wanted to start a band but we were all guitarists. Once the band fell apart I hardly ever

      • by sorak (246725)

        It's not just the exercise. The great thing about today's video games are the reward schedules that make games so damn addictive. These rewards cause dopamine release, which helps offset Parkinson's. What I wonder is if there's a "Flowers for Algernon" type effect -- like with Levadopa, is tolerance built up quickly? Do patients doing Wii-hab for Parkinson's need to take a "Wii holiday" the same way Parkinson's patients on Levadopa need to take a drug holiday to reset their tolerance?

        Or would it be reasonable for doctors to measure dopamine produced and tell their patients when it's time to buy a new game? "This test suggests you might be getting bored with wii sports. Maybe you should try switching to Punch Out!"

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Hard to say in this instance, but in every other example I can think of, exercise continues to provide the same health benefits aven after time.

        So a 30 minute walk everyday gives you pretty much the same benefit even after years.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's not flimsy, its a way to make it enjoyable and it motivates people to exercise more.

      That's the key. How you burn the calories is secondary to actually doing it.

  • There have been a startling number of stories directly or peripherally about the Wii.

  • Finaly video games prove they can have some good too (nothing to prove to me or any geek, just my grand-parents :P)
  • I am very interested to see whether or not use of the Wii could result in either preventing Parkinson's or delaying it significantly. Obviously there isn't any data available at this point on such theory, but I think 20 to 30 years down the road it would be interesting to see what happens to people who regularly used Wii and future Wii-like consoles.

    Of course, since IIANDoctor, I have no idea on the science behind that. Anyone know whether or not that's feasible?
    • I don't believe Parkinson's is related to a lack of exercise or a lack of anything that the Wii would provide. From what I understand they usually don't even know what causes the disease in the first place.

      • by cecille (583022) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:34AM (#28308913)
        They don't know what causes it exactly, but most research indicates it is caused by problems with the dopamine system. In a particularly unfortunate incident, some bad "designer heroin" got loose and caused users to develop what appeared to be incredibly fast-onset late stage Parkinson's. Nasty bit of business, but a boon for researchers. More info here. Sad case, but interesting.

        http://classes.uleth.ca/200901/chem2600a/Designer%20Drugs%20PPT.pdf [uleth.ca]
        • I remember something about that incident. I think there is a conspiracy theory surrounding that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          They don't know what causes it exactly

          They do know what causes it. Death of dopaminergic neurons in a specific part of the brain, and/or inactivation of dopamine receptors on those neurons.

          The underlying causes, though, are still not completely clear. As from your link, certain chemicals can cause this.

          But it's important to note that dopaminergic receptors die off regularly, anyway (IIRC ~5% per year) but no Parkinson's symptoms are exhibited until there are very few dopaminergic receptors in that part

          • by cecille (583022)
            Sorry, what I meant was that they don't know what actually causes the problem with the dopamine receptors to start. The brain region is the substantia nigra (didn't remember either, but it's in the link).
          • It's called the substantia nigra pars compacta (or just substantia nigra for short), which is in the tegmentum (a portion of the brainstem).

            People do not develop symptoms of Parkinson's disease until 75-80% of the dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra are dead and gone (or at least no longer producing dopamine).
    • Nope. Using the Wii will not prevent Parkinson's disease. It's possible it could delay the symptoms slightly or at least help PD patients adapt to them but the only thing that will cure PD is something that replaces the lost dopaminergic cells in the brainstem.
      • Nope. Using the Wii will not prevent Parkinson's disease. It's possible it could delay the symptoms slightly or at least help PD patients adapt to them but the only thing that will cure PD is something that replaces the lost dopaminergic cells in the brainstem.

        Hello Dogmatixpsych Again an exact statement...we do not know the cause of PD nor do we have a cure...i am not an MD or biochemist so I cannot necessarily find that cure...but I can slow the process down which is mu over all intent...I am the guy who did this research...and the fact that the depression went down and quality of life went up with a few other things that is important...since the published numbers are 45% depressed in this populationa and those who work with them believe that it is more...this

  • This is bunk, as many people have said before... exercise is good medicine. Who wants to wager that the new "updated" version of Wii Sports, with the Motion Plus controls, will be put on a similar test and researchers will waste another couple of million dollars figuring out that moving around is good for Parkinsons.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:43AM (#28309033) Journal

      This is bunk, as many people have said before... exercise is good medicine.

      Ah yes, "This is bunk" states known Parkinson's expert and physiology sage jshackles.

      Before you call it bunk... do you know what causes Parkinson's? Do you know what neurotransmitter abnormality causes Parkinson's symptoms?

      Do you know what neurotransmitters are the mediators of the response we know as "feeling of accomplishment"?

      Do you know how video games stimulate that response?

      Do you know, even discounting the neurotransmitter impact, how exercise via the Wii differs from other "standard" methods of exercise, and how this might specifically be of use to Parkinson's sufferers? Do you know if using a Wii for fine motor control exercise has a higher percentage of participants actually sticking to their rehabilitation schedules than traditional methods?

      In short... you call it bunk... but it seems VERY clear to me that (1) you don't know much about the subject and (2) you didn't bother researching it at all before decrying it.

      Even if this study was bunk, your refutation of it is even worse... at least they bothered to collect data before making any kind of conclusion.

      • by beschra (1424727)

        someone mod this parent up.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Best "Der, I'm shmarter than teh scientists" Tard Smackdown I've seen in a while.

        • Either that, or (more likely, IMO) worst failure to realize someone was being trolled in a while...

          Looking back, it seems that the parent to my post made a pretty good quality troll, and I fell for it -- badly.
          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            Looking back, it seems that the parent to my post made a pretty good quality troll, and I fell for it -- badly.

            Eh. Even if true I don't see how it detracts from your accomplishment of a well-formed beat-down post.

            I kinda laugh at the troll's game. For one, I don't see how rebutting "You're a blithering idiot and here's why in well-defined steps" with "Yeah, well I was being insincere!" (as distinct in this context from being sarcastic) means they won. To me it just means they admit they were being a blit

  • That eye/body/hand/whatever coordination excercise is good for your general health and actually develops your brain.
    Nothing new here.

    • Nothing new here, unless you have a relative who struggles with Parkinson's and you have more hope for helping the crippling symptoms subside a bit.
  • Misleading title? (Score:2, Informative)

    by joeflies (529536)

    It sounds like it is used to treat the effects of the symptoms of parkison's. It doesn't do anything to treat Parkisons itself.

    • How is it misleading, is there anything that actually treats Parkinsons as opposed to just the symptoms?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by brkello (642429)
        Um, yes, there are things that treat Parkinson's and the summary is a bit misleading. Probably not intentionally because it is easier to chalk it up to stupidity than being maliciously misleading.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dogmatixpsych (786818)
        Yes. Administering Levodopa (a dopamine precurser) actually "treats Parkinson's" because it replaces the dopamine that is lost in the brain. However, people build a tolerance to the drug. We don't have anything at the moment that cures Parkinson's disease, although there is promise with stem cell treatments. We don't even know what causes the loss of the substantia nigra cells (where dopamine is largely produced) in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by T Murphy (1054674)
      You clearly don't watch House or you would've understood it right away. I can't believe you would be so unintelligent to not watch such an amazingly realistic account of the practice of medicine! Go and redeem yourself via Hulu before you become truly lost.
  • Free Wiis (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137)
    So, does that mean if Obama's health care package get's passed, the government will pay for video games for Parkinson's sufferers?
    • by omris (1211900)

      Cheaper than any other options...

      Except maybe the Ultimate Solution. Which I'm not that keen on, personally.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      If it has the same or better effect as drugs, then I certainly hope so, much cheaper.

  • by V50 (248015) * on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:46AM (#28309079) Journal

    So what this article is saying, is that the Wii provides a "watered down" Parkinson's experience.

  • by hellfire (86129) <<deviladv> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday June 12, 2009 @11:53AM (#28309151) Homepage

    Dr. Ben Hertz, a director of Occupational Therapy at MCG, explained that "participants showed significant improvements in rigidity, movement, fine motor skills and energy levels. Perhaps most impressively, most participants' depression levels decreased to zero." [MCG] Depression is a major impact factor in Parkinson's, with at least half of the patients reporting the mental illness.

    No neurological studies have been done to solidify the reasons behind the improvement. However, Hertz believes that the combination of exercise and video games helps boost dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter that is severely deficient in Parkinson's disease. That is the motivation behind using the Wii over another video game system; Wii requires whole-body movement instead of the simple isolated finger movements on a traditional controller.

    While we only have a correlation here and no direct link, I actually think the researchers may be onto something. The reason why this is more than old news is not the physical activity, but the emotional and mental components.

    Playing sports for real requires lifting the appropriate equipment, and learning the skill. Wii Sports is simpler, and simply requires basic motions. The remote is also much lighter and easier to handle.

    The time invested learning vs the return in enjoyment ramps up faster and if you are a depressed parkinson's patient, being able to easily do a little exercise with a simple little console can emotionally be a big deal. I do not have parkinson's, but I've tried learning tennis and it's a pain in the ass to me, but I enjoy a little wii tennis from time to time with my niece.

    And finally, playing a computer game is still novel. Most patients are going to look at something like this and it will be enjoyable. It's not some uber FPS or strategy game where they have to learn 20 combos. They swing a remote and have a little fun with their friends.

    The physical activity has always been important, but other consoles don't give you physical interaction, you mash buttons. If you are a parkinson's patient and you can feel like you are doing something, you are not only getting a physical component, but a much needed mental and emotional component.

  • Is there nothing the Wii can't do.
  • ...smoke some dope? Of course, patients selection should be stressed, but I think this is one of the few disease where prescibed cannabis really would help. Maybe not smoke, but ingestion or something like that. And I'm sure the side-effects will be very welcome B-) Seriously though, there's some decent evidence out there for the use of cannabis for Parkinson's.
  • the patients are challenging anyone to beat them at Wario Land: Shake it.
  • There's nothing about Wii that makes it any better than any other similar exercise. We used the Apple //GS "tour" program for the same thing, back when it was brand new. We also used a computerized version of the old psych-test "trail making test" on a Mac 128, back when it was new too.

    Fact is, it's not really the exercise that does the trick, it's giving the brain a task where it can plan a trajectory of movement. You can get the same effect almost instantly by giving a Parky a cane. They don;t need it to

    • hello Dynasoar There is research such as Koepp and Zyang that show there is an increase in dopamine in videogames as well as others demonstrating that with exercise...the fact that there was a decrease in depression and increase in quality of life is a big advancement...since 45% is published as having it but many of us think there is more then that...giving a person a cane continues to put them in the patient catagory as opposed to human catagory and can and will effect the self esteem and self worth..
  • I am still waiting for a golf game with the same simple gameplay as WII Sports Golf but lets you play of all the major courses in the world.
  • We can safely attribute this to The Obama Effect.
  • "They tried to make me go to Wiihab but I said no no no..."

    • Sorry to hear this...I have seem many different positive things from it...I have been working with the WII AND PD for 2 yrs...you should give it a try at least at home if you have one or know someone who does... Dr. Ben Herz MCG OT

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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