Wii-based movement therapy to promote improved upper extremity function post-stroke: A pilot study
Marie R. Mouawad, Catherine G. Doust, Madeleine D. Max, Penelope A. McNulty
Background: Virtual-reality is increasingly used to improve rehabilitation outcomes. The Nintendo Wii offers an inexpensive alternative to more complex systems.
Objective: To investigate the efficacy of Wii-based therapy for post-stroke rehabilitation.
Methods: Seven patients (5 men, 2 women, aged 42–83 years; 1–38 months post-stroke, mean 15.3 months) and 5 healthy controls (3 men, 2 women, aged 41–71 years) undertook 1 h
of therapy on 10 consecutive weekdays. Patients progressively increased home practice to 3 h per day.
Results: Functional ability improved for every patient. The mean performance time significantly decreased per Wolf Motor Function Test task, from 3.2 to 2.8 s, and Fugl-Meyer Assessment scores increased from 42.3 to 47.3. Upper extremity range-of-motion increased by 20.1º and 14.33º for passive and active movements, respectively. Mean Motor Activity Log (Quality of Movement scale) scores increased from 63.2 to 87.5, reflecting a transfer of functional recovery to everyday activities. Balance and dexterity did not improve significantly. No significant change was seen in any of these measures for healthy controls, despite improved skill levels for Wii games.
Conclusion: An intensive 2-week protocol resulted in significant and clinically relevant improvements in functional motor ability post-stroke. These gains translated to improvement in activities of daily living.