Saturday, June 13, 2009


Completeing the research and publishing the studies that form the basis for evidence-based medicine takes time, money, and expertise. Lead researcher, Dr. Ben Herz, from Medical College of Georgia, is among the first researchers to publish a study which demonstrates the benefits of using Nintendo Wii in a therapeutic setting. On June 12, 2009 he presented the results of his study that examined the benefits of an occupational therapy intervention for patients with Parkinson's disease using actvities available through Nintendo Wii .

Those attending the fifth anual Games for Health in Boston heard Dr. Herz's report that the study participants demonstrated a decrease in depression as well as an increase in agility. These improvements would be very beneficial to someone with Parkinson's since those with Parkinson's disease experience both depression and bradykinesia (slowing of movement).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

High School and Middle School Special Needs Students in Oregon To Benefit from Wii-Hab Pilot Program

As planned, Lon Thornberg, along with the occupational and physical therapists who he works with in Oregon, spent two days observing ways that activities and exercises available through Nintendo Wii might benefit children with special needs. The article posted on No Limits to Learning describes the program designed to help these three dedicated individuals develop a program for their students that will incoroparte the most effective Wii programs for their student population.
Activities offered through Nintendo Wii Sports provide opportunities to improve :
  1. motor skills, especially gross and fine coordination,
  2. cognitive skills, especially sequencing, memory and recognition
as well as many other areas.

If you have used activities offered through Nintendo Wii in a school based setting, please let Lon and me know about your experience.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The Fifth Annual GAMES FOR HEALTH conference, made possible in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, takes place June 11-12 in Boston, MA.  "The Healthcare Guy" posts what Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Games for Health, has to say about the upcoming conference.  This article provides both a good background on the history of gaming for health as well as a glimpse into the newest games available for the therapy toolkit.  
One game that Mr. Sawyer mentions is Electronic Arts' EA Sports Active.  This game features a personal trainer who leads the participant through a workout that really makes the player break a sweat.  This game encourages the participant to strengthen the upper body, build endurance, improve balance and strengthen the lower extremities. 
During a recent "Wii-Hab - Using Nintendo Wii in a Therapeutic Setting" Seminar, a student was very interested in using Wii activities for high level patients in an outpatient occupational therapy and physical therapy rehabilitation setting.  EA Sports Active  provides high level activities that may be well suited for that population.