Nintendo Wii may help stroke victims - - Columbia, South Carolina

Nintendo Wii may help stroke victims

NATIONAL (NBC) - The Nintendo Wii does more than entertain kids and adults - it can also help patients recovering from a stroke.

It's been eight years since Carol Mirabella suffered a stroke.

Rehabilitation helped get her back on her feet, but her affected arm has never been the same.

"I used to knock everything over, but when I pick up a glass or something, I can pick it up better," she said.

Carol credits this extra strength in her left arm to playing video games.

It's not as simple as playing a game; it is exciting new research.

"It combines two new concepts in stroke rehab and that's the use of a virtual reality system, like the Wii, as a non-conventional means of physical therapy along with our afferent technology," explained Bethany Therrien of Afferent Corporation.

The technology involves neurostimulation.

"That increases the amount of sensory information that flows to the brain while they're going through rehab. It's helping the brain to relearn the function that was lost during the stroke," Therrien added.

Half the participants in this stroke rehab study simply play the interactive games.

The other half, like Carol, receive the neurostimulation while playing the games.

"We're hoping that we can accelerate the process and that they can gain a higher function, a higher measurement of functional ability at the end of the study," Therrien said.

Carol feels it has improved the function in her left arm, and over the course of this two week study, she's grown especially fond of one of the games

Posted by Bryce Mursch

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