Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Occupational Therapists Use Wii For Parkinson's Study

Date:
April 7, 2008
Source:
Medical College of Georgia
Summary:
Mrs. Bell is playing the Nintendo Wii as part of her occupational therapy. She is among 30 Parkinson's disease patients participating in a study to determine if occupational therapy enhances the treatment of the disease.

Ingrid Bell, left, uses the Nintendo Wii with guidance from her occupational therapist, Jessica Westmeier-Shuh. The Wii is part of an MCG study examining the efficacy of occupational therapy in treating Parkinson's disease.
Credit: Medical College of Georgia

It's Ingrid Bell's turn at bat. She steps up to the plate, awaiting the pitch. A 70-mph fastball soars toward her. She swings and connects with the ball. Foul ball! Everyone cheers for her anyway.

This baseball game's not taking place on a field, and there's no real bat or ball to be seen. Mrs. Bell is playing the Nintendo Wii as part of her occupational therapy. She is among 30 Parkinson's disease patients participating in a Medical College of Georgia study to determine if occupational therapy enhances the treatment of the disease.

Parkinson's disease affects daily tasks that people take for granted. Brushing teeth, getting out of bed and walking become a problem for these patients because of dopamine depletion, which results in stiffness or slowing of movement and fine motor dysfunction.

"Occupational therapy looks at how the illness affects the patient's whole life, from the psychological, cognitive and sensory motor standpoints," says Dr. Ben Herz, assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Allied Health Sciences and a study principal investigator along with Dr. John Morgan, neurologist. "Our therapists are responsible for helping someone maintain or gain their independence with functional activities."

While occupational therapy is frequently used in the comprehensive care of Parkinson's patients, evidence is needed to support its short- or long-term effectiveness, says Dr. Herz.

"We're hoping to show a slowing of the progression of the disease and a decrease in medication while increasing function. If we can teach patients to exercise and do functional activities, maybe we can have them take less medications," he says.

Study participants are divided into an experimental group receiving therapy or a control group that does not. Each participant meets individually with an occupational therapist for one hour a week for eight weeks. Participants in both groups are given functional and standardized tests and evaluated on a quality-of-life scale before and after therapy begins, then four months later. The control group has the option to receive therapy after the second evaluation.

"None of the participants have had occupational therapy before because we wanted no preconceived notions of what therapists would do or how they would do it," Dr. Herz says. "A few participants were probably taken aback when they heard they'd be playing video games."

But the Wii has been popular with both participants and therapists.

"Because the Wii is interactive and you have to do certain functional movements to be successful, it's an effective modality for working with Parkinson's patients," says Dr. Herz. "One of the therapists uses the Wii for timing and loosening up, and the other uses it for coordination and balance issues."

Participants also perform functional activities, such as dressing and rolling over in bed; fine motor skills, like circling in word searches and carefully moving blocks in the game Jenga; and stretching.

"These therapists are thinking way out of the box. They're doing activities that will make a difference in these participants' lives based on what we know about Parkinson's," Dr. Herz says.

Early results show at least short-term gains. Therapists set goals for each participant prior to treatment. These goals range from independence with daily living activities, such as cooking, dressing or bathing, to functional activities such as sports and leisure without any adaptation. About 98 percent of those goals have been met or surpassed, Dr. Herz says.

When Mrs. Bell started therapy in January, she was dependent on her husband to walk, dress and get out of bed. She could climb only one step on her own.

"Now she's doing 24 steps without any difficulty," says Dr. Herz.

"I may need help putting my shirt and shoes on, but I'm trying as hard as I can to do it myself," Mrs. Bell says.

The study, funded by a $30,000 grant from the National Parkinson's Foundation, is a collaboration between the Department of Occupational Therapy and MCG's Movement Disorders Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia. "Occupational Therapists Use Wii For Parkinson's Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407074534.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia. (2008, April 7). Occupational Therapists Use Wii For Parkinson's Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407074534.htm
Medical College of Georgia. "Occupational Therapists Use Wii For Parkinson's Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407074534.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins