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Could Video Games help MS Patients?

2.5 million People worldwide are suffering from symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis–a disabling neurological condition affecting many young adults.

It can be very difficult for people suffering with MS to stay active. The disease, along with medications used to fight against its progression, may disrupt normal functioning associated with balance.

Researchers have now found that an exercise component to the popular Nintendo Wii video game (Wii Fit Balance Board) could possibly help some patients be able to live a more normal life. A recent study revealed that by simply playing the video game, MS patients were able to build up strength and regain some balance by re-wiring their brain function.

For the study, patients were split into two groups: one group spent three months doing no special exercise while the other group played with the Wii Balance Board for 30 to 40 minutes per day, five days a week. Then the two groups reversed rolls. Those who had not participated in a regular exercise routine used the balance board for three months, while the others stopped. Researchers used MRI scans to help detect any physiological changes in the brain.

Findings showed that patients had regained some balance. Furthermore, the video game’s use was actually tied to improvements in the protective sheath around the nerves that help with a conduction of impulses between the body and the brain.


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