Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Motor learning, retention and transfer after virtual-reality-based training in Parkinson's disease--effect of motor and cognitive demands of games: a longitudinal, controlled clinical study.

Physiotherapy. 2012 Sep;98(3):217-23. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

dos Santos Mendes FA, Pompeu JE, Modenesi Lobo A, Guedes da Silva K, Oliveira Tde P, Peterson Zomignani A, Pimentel Piemonte ME.

Department of Neuroscience and Behaviour, Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

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Abstract 
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the learning, retention and transfer of performance improvements after Nintendo Wii Fit™ training in patients with Parkinson's disease and healthy elderly people.
DESIGN: Longitudinal, controlled clinical study.
PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease and 11 healthy elderly people.
INTERVENTIONS: Warm-up exercises and Wii Fit training that involved training motor (shifts centre of gravity and step alternation) and cognitive skills. A follow-up evaluative Wii Fit session was held 60 days after the end of training. Participants performed a functional reach test before and after training as a measure of learning transfer.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Learning and retention were determined based on the scores of 10 Wii Fit games over eight sessions. Transfer of learning was assessed after training using the functional reach test.
RESULTS: Patients with Parkinson's disease showed no deficit in learning or retention on seven of the 10 games, despite showing poorer performance on five games compared with the healthy elderly group. Patients with Parkinson's disease showed marked learning deficits on three other games, independent of poorer initial performance. This deficit appears to be associated with cognitive demands of the games which require decision-making, response inhibition, divided attention and working memory. Finally, patients with Parkinson's disease were able to transfer motor ability trained on the games to a similar untrained task.
CONCLUSIONS: The ability of patients with Parkinson's disease to learn, retain and transfer performance improvements after training on the Nintendo Wii Fit depends largely on the demands, particularly cognitive demands, of the games involved, reiterating the importance of game selection for rehabilitation purposes.

Copyright © 2012 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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