Games Can Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Over six million people suffer from the neurodegenerative disease called Parkinson’s Disease, the symptoms of which include joints and muscles becoming stiff and rigid. Exercise can be used to treat these symptoms, but the repetition of these exercises leads to boredom which can lead to a lack of adherence to the exercises. New computer games are making these exercises more exciting and easier to adhere to.

Research done at Lancaster University combines the Nintendo Wii with programs designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease. The goal was to take the exercises done by Parkinson’s patients and combine that with the motion sensors of the Wii. For example, a rowing game has the patient rowing a two-paddled row boat which can improve the individual’s speed and arm movement, thereby loosening the rigid joints. Individuals who took part in the research said that the games were fun and also gave them a good workout. 

Researchers say that translating a Parkinson’s patient’s hobbies into therapy that can be used to treat symptoms of the disease can lead to more fulfilling exercises and better treatment of those symptoms.

What do you think of this research? Can games be used for the treatment of other diseases besides Parkinson’s? Let me know your opinion by tweeting me @RyanFinfrock. Also, be sure to follow @APGNation for all the latest information on gaming news and reviews. 

Source: Lancaster University 

Ryan Finfrock
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“Cheap Five Dollar Dress.” That’s what my last name loosely means in German. That is pretty much my only claim to fame at this point of my life. In other parts of life, I am a 21-year-old student from Cincinnati, Ohio studying Electronic Media and Broadcasting with a minor in Political Science at Northern Kentucky University. If I’m not studying, working or sleeping, I am trying my hardest to sneak in some game time on my Xbox One or 3DS (Destiny, Madden 15 and Smash Bros. are taking up most of my time.) I also enjoy the occasional iOS game on my iPhone or iPad. I am also a novice filmmaker and news junkie. I work with production folks on a daily basis and start my morning browsing the interwebs and see what the biggest news of the day happens to be. I also enjoy watching movies as much as I can. (But movies are way too dang expensive anymore!) I am firm believer that video games are art. I really started realizing this during the Mass Effect 3 controversy. I couldn’t believe that people wanted Bioware to change the ending to the game. To me, it was like people wanting to change the Mona Lisa because they didn’t like how the hands looked. This was the point where I was writing a lot about video games on my blog and developed a strong passion to video games. I believe video games can be a very powerful platform and the second-best form of storytelling next to reading a book. Bioshock continues to be my favorite game of all time because it brings together good gameplay (at the time) and fantastic storytelling. Also, it has one of the best twists in the history of gaming. So if you haven’t figured it out yet, I love story-driven games. I also take fantasy football way too seriously and am a desperate, die hard Cincinnati Bengals fan.

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