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Computer games help Parkinson's sufferers

Computer consoles can help improve the lives of people with Parkinson's disease, researchers have found.

Scientists said games with sensors - used in consoles such as the Nintendo Wii and accessories such as the Xbox Kinect - were found to aid symptoms of those with the degenerative brain condition.

A study with Parkinson's sufferers at Lancaster University in England found video games involving the movement of players acted as a form of physical therapy.

"Muscles and joints tend to become stiff, which is why exercise is crucial in managing some of the symptoms," said Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves.

"Computer games have the potential to motivate people to keep active by implicitly incorporating repetitive exercises."

flexibility

Parkinson's affects six million people worldwide. Sufferers include Muhammad Ali, Billy Connolly and Michael J Fox.

"Our research involved participants with Parkinson's using commercially available gaming sensors like the Nintendo Wii and computer games designed specifically for people with Parkinson's," said Dr Tsekleves.

"The games help at improving the player's speed and arm movement, improving flexibility and reducing rigidity.

"One involved the control of a two-paddled row boat, while the second, the steam mini-golf game, asked the player to rotate a valve to release steam to push a ball into a hole."

hnews@herald.ie


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