Computer games 'can help Parkinson's patients'

People who suffer from Parkinson's disease have been advised to participate in regular exercise, particularly activities utilising the Nintendo Wii.

Regular use of the console helps patients cope with some of the symptoms associated with the condition, said Dr Michelle Gardner, research development manager at Parkinson's UK.

She explained that many sufferers have balance issues and similar computer games to those found on the Wii have led to some encouraging results, allowing many people to become more active and regain their self-confidence.

A study led by the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing and Red Hill Studios found the video game routines improved stride length, walking speed and balance in more than half of the Parkinson's disease patients who were tested.

Ms Gardner said the results displayed "real promise" and more work is being conducted using the Wii at Queen's University Belfast.

Parkinson's UK is also funding research at the University of Southampton that helps prevent sufferers from falling while exercising.

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