Thursday, 3 January 2013

Can balance in children with cerebral palsy improve through use of an activity promoting computer game?

Technology and Health Care

Volume 20, Number 6 / 2012; Pages -501-510

Authors: Nerrolyn Ramstrand, Frida Lygnegård

Department of Rehabilitation, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden

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Introduction: This study aimed to evaluate if use of an activity promoting computer game, used in the home (Nintendo Wii Fit; Nintendo Co Ltd, Japan), could influence balance related outcome measures in children with cerebral palsy.

Method: Eighteen children with hemiplegic or diplegic cerebral palsy were recruited for the study. A randomised cross-over design was used with children tested at baseline, after five weeks of playing Wii Fit games and after five weeks without any intervention. Outcome measures of interest included: performance on the modified sensory organisation test, reactive balance test and rhythmic weight shift test.

Results: No significant difference was observed between testing occasions for any of the balance measures investigated (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that use of a Nintendo Wii balance board and Wii Fit software for a minimum of thirty minutes per day in the patient's own home, over a five week period, is not effective as a balance training tool in children with cerebral palsy.

Keywords:  Balance, postural stability, interactive games, Nintendo Wii, cerebral palsy, children

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