Posts Tagged ‘Games For Health’

Lara CroftFor a few years now, I’ve been raving about Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of Tomb Raider and their reimagining of its protagonist, Lara Croft, from a scantily clad, hypersexualized, adolescent male fantasy to a more realistic, appropriately dressed and anatomically restrained, tough, gritty survivor (see my earlier post here). I applauded their depiction of her as an imperfect woman forced by circumstance to make difficult choices and carry out some fairly gruesome acts in order to stay alive and save her friends. Lara’s not proud of what she does, nor does she take pleasure in it. She does it because she has to, because her only other option is to give up.

That both gamers and critics praised Tomb Raider came as no surprise. At long last, the franchise had a game that looked stunning, played beautifully, and featured a tough, intelligent heroine that both men and women cared about and could believe in. Here, at last, was the Lara Croft we’d all been waiting for.

And now, Crystal Dynamics has done it again. At Microsoft’s E3 press conference this past Monday, they revealed a teaser trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider, slated for a late 2015 release. The trailer features all the energy and excitement of the first game, including a few very tense moments of Lara in peril—no surprise there. But it features something else, something unprecedented in the history of gaming.

Rise of the Tomb RaiderThe video begins, not with Lara escaping death or brutally overcoming an attacker, but with her in therapy. You read that right: therapy. We see her on the edge of a chair, cloaked in a hoodie, head downcast. As the therapist talks, Lara digs her fingers into the upholstery, clenches her fist, bounces her leg. She can’t sit still. She’s clearly anxious and uncomfortable. This is not the bulletproof heroine we’ve come to expect, casually shaking off the death she’s dealt. Lara has experienced horrors the likes of which most of us can’t imagine, and she’s been deeply affected by them. But neither is she a broken woman. Battered and scarred yet alive, she’s found away to exist in between. Her therapist continues:

For many people, these traumas become a mental trap. They get stuck, like a ship frozen in ice.”

Lara HoodiePTSD. That’s what he’s talking about. This is classic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lara is suffering from something that affects nearly eight million American adults, that’s all too common among veterans of war and survivors of abuse, that can strike at any age, and that can tear families and communities apart. She has PTSD, and she’s dealing with it. That a video game is so directly dealing with this is extraordinary. And that Lara is working through and recovering from the trauma of her ordeal may provide hope to those facing traumas of their own. I’ll leave you with the experience of a young woman suffering from PTSD who, while playing Tomb Raider, discovered just that:

It didn’t hold any punches, but it didn’t need to… it affected me in a way years of therapy never did. It healed me in a way that no one’s physical comfort, words, and condolences could ever do. It made me realize that, much like Lara Croft, I survived as well—and that I had my own path to walk. That my experiences were real and tangible and yes, they defined me, but that I’d have it no other way. I am a survivor and I am alive.”

After years of buried trauma and hidden pain, this young woman had found solace and salvation by her own hand, through Lara Croft and the game. By reimagining Lara, Crystal Dynamics has done the impossible: from a game heroine, they’ve created a human being.

drwietimg_4481In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published a study that concluded the following: medical errors in the US cost the lives of as many as 98,000 people each year (and run up a $17- $29 billion bill to boot). Ten years later, the Safe Patient Project reported that, rather than showing improvement, in the intervening decade the situation may have actually gotten worse—to the tune of more than 100,000 deaths each year as a result of “preventable medical harm.” Given that the CDC puts the number of deaths from hospital infections alone at around 99,000 annually, the SPP’s number seems conservative.

Let me put this into perspective. A Boeing 737—the most popular aircraft family in service today—seats 360 people, give or take. So consider this: the Safe Patient Project’s estimate of preventable fatalities is akin to 277 airliners plummeting to Earth and killing everyone on board—every year. How long do you think the FAA—or the public, for that matter—would stand for that?

Fortunately there’s a solution: video games.

Being a videogamer doesn’t get a lot of respect in a lot of mainstream professions, but it has been instrumental to me in becoming a surgeon.”

red_dragon

Red Dragon simulator, ISIS

That’s Dr. Andy Wright, surgeon and core faculty member at the University of Washington’s Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS). The Institute’s goal is to use technology to improve the quality of healthcare education, patient safety, and surgical outcomes. Simulations are particularly effective as they allow trainees to easily repeat procedures until they’re successful, and provide a safe place for them to fail when they’re not. In Dr. Wright’s experience, the skill and manual dexterity necessary to play video games proficiently translate directly to surgical simulators—resulting in more effective training and fewer accidents in the OR.

Gamers have a higher level of executive function. They have the ability to process information and make decisions quickly, they have to remember cues to what’s going around [them] and [they] have to make split-second decisions.”

Accomplished gamers show heightened abilities to focus on critical elements while maintaining peripheral awareness of the surrounding environment, function amidst distraction, and effectively improvise if a situation doesn’t go according to plan. Past studies have repeatedly demonstrated this, and it makes sense: effectively navigating through and surviving a video game’s virtual world demands it. There are other characteristics of video games that make them particularly well-suited to prepare surgeons for the operating room: you interact with the game’s world through a video screen, and you have to be adept at manipulating images and items with a handheld controller. These skills are especially useful in the areas of laparoscopic (see my previous post here) and robot-assisted surgery.

da Vinci Surgical System

da Vinci Surgical System

Take da Vinci, for example. It’s a robotic surgical system that allows surgeons to perform delicate, complex procedures through tiny incisions. The da Vinci system combines 3D, high definition video with four interactive robot arms (there’s even a dual-console option where trainees can watch an actual procedure, and a switching mechanism that allows surgeons and trainees to exchange control during an operation). Surgeons manipulate these arms using precision controllers that scale the speed and range of their movements down to the much smaller size of the surgical instruments, allowing for unparalleled accuracy. Put simply, the most advanced robotic surgical system in the world employs an interface intimately familiar to video gamers.

Take gaming into the land of simulation, though, and you can start tapping into the medium’s real power. Virtual reality (VR) simulators are an effective means of getting fledgling surgeons comfortable with a variety of procedures, allowing them to perform a given surgery dozens of times before ever opening up a live patient. They also provide an environment in which surgeons can, in essence, fail safely. Within a simulation, they can develop critical skills and expertise without putting anyone at risk, experimenting with different techniques, learning what does—and doesn’t—work, and becoming safer and more effective. A 2002 Yale University study provided strong evidence for this: surgical residents trained in VR were 29 percent faster and six times less likely to make mistakes than their non-VR trained colleagues.

virtual_surgery-chirurgie_virtuelle_1You can also customize a simulation to closely reflect reality, matching the conditions and characteristics of actual patients. In 2009, Halifax neurosurgeon Dr. David Clarke made history when he became the first person to remove a brain tumor in a patient less than 24 hours after removing the same tumor virtually, on a 3D rendering of that same patient. Two years later, doctors in Mumbai performed PSI knee replacement surgery on a patient after first running the operation virtually on an exact 3D replica of the patient’s knee.

Earlier this year, VR training took another leap forward: using the online virtual world Second Life, London’s St. Mary’s Hospital developed three VR environments—a standard hospital ward, an intensive care unit, and an emergency room—and built modules for three common scenarios (at three levels of complexity, for interns, junior residents, and senior residents) within them. According to Dr. Rajesh Aggarwal, a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinician scientist in surgery at St. Mary’s Imperial College,

The way we learn in residency currently has been called ‘training by chance,’ because you don’t know what is coming through the door next. What we are doing is taking the chance encounters out of the way residents learn and forming a structured approach to training. What we want to do—using this simulation platform—is to bring all the junior residents and senior residents up to the level of the attending surgeon, so that the time is shortened in terms of their learning curve in learning how to look after surgical patients.”

After running interns and junior and senior residents through the VR training, researchers compared their performances of specific procedures against those of attending surgeons. They found substantial performance gaps between interns, residents, and attendings—validating the VR scenarios as training tools. As Dr. Aggarwal explained,

What we have shown scientifically is that these three simulated scenarios at the three different levels are appropriate for the assessment of interns, junior residents, and senior residents and their management of these cases.”

In the future, the team at St. Mary’s plans to study how this type of VR training can improve clinical outcomes of patients treated by residents—ultimately using this tool to bring their interns’ and residents’ skills up to the level of the attendings, help them better manage clinical patients, and, at the end of the day save lives.

surgery-2-300x200What can surgeons do for six minutes that enhances performance, reduces errors, and improves patient outcomes?

Play video games.

As unlikely as it sounds, specialists in laparoscopic surgery are finding that they can improve their results in less time than it takes to boil water, simply by picking up a controller and getting their game on. I can hear the protests already. Video games are a scourge, a blight. They’re incubators of violence, and responsible for the downfall of modern society. They can’t possibly offer anything positive.

Actually, they can. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and very small-scale: surgeons insert a tiny video camera and set of miniature surgical instruments into a patient and use video game-style controllers—like joysticks and d-pads—to manipulate these tools from outside the body. This requires precise hand-eye coordination, keen depth perception, and a high level of manual dexterity—the exact skills needed to excel at video gaming, and which games are uniquely suited to develop. According to Dr. James C. Rosser, a laparoscopic surgeon at Florida’s Celebration Health hospital,

I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery… I could come in, sit down, and put this [the surgical tool controller] in my hand and not find it foreign to look on that screen and do something with my hands.”

Dr. RosserDr. Rosser proved this in 2002, while practicing at Beth Israel Medical Center. He had 33 surgeons participate in a three-month study that involved, among other activities, playing a series of video games before simulating laparoscopic surgery. About half of the participants had a history of game play, though all of them played throughout the study. Researchers compared the results between participants, as well as against non-gaming colleagues. Across the board, they found that surgeons who played video games were faster and more accurate than those who didn’t—dramatically so: at the low end of the skill spectrum, gaming docs made a third fewer errors and were a quarter faster than their non-playing counterparts. Among participants, the most skilled surgeon gamers were nearly half again as accurate and more than a third faster than those at the bottom of the heap. Further, after controlling for extent of training and number of cases completed, the best predictors of surgical success were video game skill and amount of past gaming experience. Said surgeon and participant Asaf Yalif,

We were surprised and actually awed by the fact that your video game skill, meaning how well you play, as well as the number of hours you have spent on video games were very highly correlating — meaning if you do this well you will be less error-prone, you will be faster and you will perform better at laparoscopic surgery.”

Dr. Rosser recently conducted a follow-up at Celebration Health hospital with 300 laparoscopic surgeons, half playing a video game just prior to scrubbing in. The results? A six-minute video game warm-up resulted in more effective performance and better patient outcomes.

Another study at the University of Rome, Italy, published this past February in the journal PLOS ONE, provides further evidence of gaming’s impact on laparoscopy. Researchers gathered 42 post graduate students in general, vascular and endoscopic surgery, and split them into two groups. Both groups received standard training, but one group also trained on the Nintendo Wii. After four weeks, the Wii group showed significant performance improvement in several areas, including economy of instrument movements and efficient cautery. The authors’ conclusions? The Wii could be a valuable tool for laparoscopic training, and an effective, inexpensive, and entertaining means of enhancing standard surgical education.

Surgeons can’t operate on live patients every day. It’s a numbers game: there just aren’t enough people who need surgery to go around. Other means of honing surgical skills—such as simulators—are therefore critical. The catch is that typical medical simulators run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars—an expense that can be hard for many hospitals to swallow. A game console—like the Wii, Xbox, or Playstation—costs a fraction of that, and provides a viable and effective way to keep surgeons sharp.

Consider this: According to both the Institute of Medicine and the Safe Patient Project, medical errors in the United States run up between 17 and 29 billion dollars in hospital expenses, and result in around 100,000 deaths each year. If video games can reduce even a fraction of these, then perhaps it’s time to get our surgeons playing.

You can find Dr. Rosser’s JAMA Surgery article here.

The New York Times has a piece about Dr. Rosser here.

And you can learn more about Dr. Rosser’s recent work here.

For information about the study at the University of Rome, check the link to PLOS ONE

… and the write-up in Science Daily.

 

When you’re talking about pain, nothing comes close to the excruciating intensity of burning alive. Survivors of severe burns report trying anything—anything—to stop the pain, sometimes resigning themselves to death and hoping they won’t be on fire much longer before the end.

And that’s just during the event. Those who are lucky enough to live through the experience have another nightmare to look forward to: recovery. Burn wounds are especially susceptible to infection, and have to be cleaned daily. For the victim, this amounts to reliving the torture of being burned over and over again. The pain is nearly as severe, and the drugs to alleviate it are woefully inadequate. Morphine and other opioids are effective when patients are resting, but during treatment, they just don’t cut it: invented to relieve pain in 1804, morphine hasn’t changed since. For all intents and purposes, pain management’s been stuck in the 19th century.

Until recently, that is. Beginning in late 2006, caregivers received a new tool for fighting pain, one that doesn’t require a prescription and has no risk of dependency. It’s a videogame called SnowWorld, and it’s the first immersive virtual world designed specifically for reducing pain.

The environment of SnowWorld is as far from hot as you can get: icy, snow-covered, and populated with penguins, snowmen, and woolly mammoths. Patients undergoing treatment for severe burns don a VR headset or look through a pair of goggles, and find themselves transported into this world where they can run around and toss snowballs at the inhabitants for as long as the PT session lasts. And, believe it or not, it gets results. Says University of Washington researcher Hunter Hoffman, who worked with combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan,

What was encouraging was the ones that needed it the most showed the most pain reduction, so the patients that were in the most pain showed the most pain reduction from SnowWorld.”

The idea behind SnowWorld predates the game by a decade. It’s called immersive VR distraction, and it was co-developed in 1996 by Hoffman and Dr. David Patterson, head of the Division of Psychology of the University of Washington’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Patterson also works with patients at the university’s Harborview Burn Center, studying psychological techniques for reducing severe burn pain. According to Patterson, the concept is simple:

It takes a certain amount of attention to process pain. If you are able to put that attention elsewhere, there is less attention to process pain, and consequently, people will feel less pain.”

This is born out not only in interviews with patients, who universally report drastic pain reduction, but in MRI scans that clearly show less activity in the brain’s pain centers when physical rehab is combined with immersion into SnowWorld.

GQ Magazine just reported the case of First Lieutenant Sam Brown, horribly burned after his Humvee rolled over an IED in Iraq. His full story is here, but some of the descriptions are a bit gruesome, so those of a more delicate constitution might want to read the NPR story here.

Sergeant Oscar Libretto experienced a similar event in 2009, and you can find his story here.

These are only two of the hundreds of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who’ve returned after surviving one of the most horrific experiences a human being can endure. But survival is only the beginning of their struggle. Wound care and rehab is taxing and painful, both physically and mentally—on the servicemen and women, the caregivers, and their families. For all of them, the immersive distraction of videogames like SnowWorld is a nothing less than a godsend, improving recovery, providing relief from unimaginable suffering, and offering a glimpse—however fleeting—of a future beyond pain.

To learn more about the Harborview Burn Center, click here.

You can read about immersive VR for pain control here.

And you can watch a video of SnowWorld in action here.

This morning, I woke up, put on sweats and a T-shirt, and got my ass moving. I ran, practiced my soccer skills, got on the skateboard, did some dedicated strength training, cardio, and stretching, even set up with a sparring partner and worked on jabs, hooks and uppercuts—all in the space of about 30 minutes, and all in the comfort of home.

How is this possible, you ask? Do I have an athletic facility in the basement, complete with my own personal trainer? No… well, not exactly. What I’ve got is a Wii and Electronic Arts’ most advanced exergame, EA Sports Active 2, which transforms the humble gaming console into a state-of-the-art fitness machine—and it comes with not one but two personal trainers dedicated to the sole purpose of keeping me healthy.

The beauty of EASA 2 comes from two factors: the variety of available exercises and the flexibility to combine them into a virtually limitless array of workout routines. You can target upper body, lower body, strength, balance, coordination, aerobics, your legs, your core… it was actually a bit overwhelming, at first. So I had my personal trainer create a workout for me. EASA 2 asked me a few simple questions—how long did I want to exercise, at what intensity, and what did I want to focus on (I chose a general workout for strength and conditioning)—and a few clicks of the Wiimote later I was ready to roll.

And I loved it. EASA 2’s environment is visually engaging and transforms with each exercise (sometimes, as with running, even while you’re exercising). The exercises are fun to do, they got me working hard, and they change frequently enough to keep things interesting—thus avoiding the often mind-numbing repetition that causes people to abandon many traditional workout programs. Your trainer is always there, helping you through your workout and providing encouragement and motivation. And most importantly, you’re there as well—in the form of an avatar that you create as part of your personal profile. This is powerful: Not only do you see yourself performing the exercises, you get immediate visual feedback as to how well you’re doing. I identified with my avatar, and really wanted it to succeed—and often pushed myself a little harder—running faster than my trainer, timing jumps better or trying to jump higher—to ensure that it did.

But is it as good as real exercise? No. It is real exercise—as real as any of the glut of exercise videos on the market today (if not more so). EASA 2 goes far beyond what any video can offer, though. Consider this: an exercise video is static. It’s always the same length, looks the same each time you watch it, you perform the same exercises in the same order for the same duration… in a word, boring. EASA 2 provides a degree of variety and gives you a level of customization beyond even the best video’s wildest aspirations. You can create and revisit favorite routines as often as you like, or you can go through an entirely different routine every time you workout. The choice is yours—but as with any form of exercise, what you get out of it depends entirely on what you put in. I can tell you this: I gave each exercise everything I had, and by the end I’d done some serious work.

Now let’s see how I feel tomorrow…

To learn more about EASA 2, navigate over to EA’s website here.

The United States population is growing, and I don’t mean our numbers. There’s no delicate way to say this, but too many of us are fat—really fat. Obesity in this country is an epidemic: about a third of all adults and 17 percent of children—three times the rate of 20 years ago—are obese, and not a single state in the union has met the Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity rates below 15 percent. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer… the list goes on. And the economic cost is staggering: obesity hammers us with a $200 billion medical bill, and it’s only getting worse. But most distressing of all, you know all those happy, carefree kids you see everyday? They’ll probably die before you do. That’s right, for the first time in US history, today’s generation of  kids probably won’t outlive their parents.

Okay, now that you’re paying attention, here’s the good news: The power to end obesity is in our hands. All we have to do is eat better and get more exercise—and there’s a great tool out there that can help. Anyone? Anyone?

You guessed it: videogames. Specifically, exergaming.

Active videogames have been around since 1982, but didn’t really take off until the introduction of Dance Dance Revolution in the early 2000s. The game’s surprising popularity tore the exergaming market wide open, and gave birth to the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, and Playstation Move—all variations on a theme, and with the laudable goal of getting average Americans off their asses and moving.

And boy do we move. Kung Fu, boxing, cycling, tennis, bowling, dancing, track and field—the list of options is virtually endless, and more and better games come to market every year.

“Okay,” you ask, with perhaps a hint of cynicism, “but do they really work?”

According to researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of Massachusetts, they do. They found that kids who played exergames for 10 minutes got a workout as good as or significantly better than a 10-minute walk at three-miles-per hour on a treadmill. In the March 7 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Bruce Bailey, PhD (Brigham Young) and Kyle McInnis, ScD (U. Mass), wrote that

Exergaming has the potential to increase physical activity and have a favorable influence on energy balance, and may be a viable alternative to traditional fitness activities.”

And guess which is more fun. In fact, the researchers noted that entertainment appeal is exactly what makes the games so effective: Kids enjoy them, and are more likely to stick with the program—and reap the benefits—as a result. Now before you accuse me of hailing videogames as a panacea for US health issues, no one believes that exergaming can, or should, replace regular physical activity. As McInnis and Bailey noted,

Although exergaming is most likely not the solution to the epidemic of reduced physical activity in children, it appears to be a potentially innovative strategy that can be used to reduce sedentary time, increase adherence to exercise programs, and promote enjoyment of physical activity.”

George Velarde agrees. He’s the chair of the P.E. department at Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon Country, CA. In 2003, he added an exergaming room to the school’s fitness center, and had this to say about it:

The kids don’t even know they’re working out, but they are working out even more at moderate to vigorous levels because of exergaming.”

Dr. Adam Noah—Technical Director of Long Island University’s ADAM Center and MoCap Lab, and an avid (and quite accomplished) gamer—plays DDR regularly, and he can tell you from experience that it’s much more like working out than gaming:

So when I play at this level [the highest level], I’m reaching 15 times my resting metabolism. That’s roughly equivalent to running on a treadmill at 10, 12 mph. People don’t do that. Yet I’m enjoying playing the game.”

And running on a treadmill is, in a word, boring.

Alright, so what’s the point of all this anyway? Just this: videogames, rather than being evil devices that turn people into couch potatoes, can actually play a key role in helping us get healthier. They may never replace real-world physical exercise, but when was the last time you broke a sweat watching TV? Think about it.

The LA Times has an article on exergaming studies here

…and WedMD has one on games and weight loss here.

For more on exergames and physical education, check out this link.

You can find a collection of news articles related to exergaming here.

There’s a discussion about exergaming research here.

Check out this article about gaming and fitness…

…and this one, too.

And for those interested, this link gives a brief history of exergaming.

I’m feeling a bit dishonest about something. Well, maybe that’s too strong a word. Let’s say disingenuous. Careful readers will have noticed that I’ve been engaging in a little linguistic sleight-of-hand with respect to games and health. I’ve argued that videogames can help treat a variety of physical and mental issues, and then gone on to talk about how people are adapting existing technology and developing new games to meet a specific health need. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s part of what makes videogames such a powerful tool.

“But wait,” you say. “These aren’t real videogames. They’re just training tools. Regular people can’t go out and buy them. How can a standard, run-of-the-mill Xbox or Wii game—you know, a real videogame—make people better? What do they have to offer? Where’s the evidence? Wait. Have you been lying to me all this time?”

Okay, okay, take a deep breath and sit down for a second. First of all, I have mentioned some real games in earlier posts, but… okay, mea culpa. You got me. Keep reading, though, ‘cause this is for you.

Playing the Wii can help you recover from a stroke. And I don’t mean some custom-built, made-for-rehab game here. I’m talking about the standard Wii Sports that anyone can go out and buy for 30-40 dollars (less if you’re a smart shopper). How do I know? Because videogame designer and overall genius Kent Quirk—who happens to be a friend of mine—actually did it. Regular sessions playing Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling were part of his post-stroke rehab. Kent summed it up this way:

Being able to stand up for 10 minutes and play a game of Wii Tennis was a real victory for me. And I certainly wasn’t going to go out on a tennis court and play real tennis at that point. So that was motivating and helpful to me.”

Motivating and helpful. Now contrast that with standard physical therapy. PT—or pain and torture, as it’s affectionately known by many who’ve gone through it—is painful, repetitive and downright boring. The problem is, it’s also necessary. So how can you take a treatment modality that’s vital for recovery and make it, well, fun?

Make a game out of it. Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, a neurologist and director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, has been studying clinics and hospitals that do just that. Here’s what he found:

Basically, we found that patients in the Wii group achieved a better motor function, both fine and gross, manifested by improvement in speed and grip strength.”

The Wii’s not just for stroke rehab, either. It can be used to help people recover from things like broken bones, surgery, and even combat injuries. Why? Like traditional PT, the Wii uses the same principles of performing repetitive, high-intensity tasks that help repair damage. The difference is that the Wii makes it fun. Says James Osborn, who oversees rehab services at southern Illinois’ Herrin Hospital,

When people can refocus their attention from the tediousness of the physical task, oftentimes they do much better.”

At WakeMed Health’s facility in Raleigh, NC, patients from nine to 89 play Wii games to improve strength, endurance and coordination. According to Bill Perry, a retired police officer and WakeMed patient who used the Wii to help recover from a stroke,

It really helps the body to loosen up so it can do what it’s supposed to do.”

Doctors and therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center agree. They find that Wii therapy works very well for patients injured during combat operations in Iraq. Here’s Lt. Col. Stephanie Daugherty, Walter Reed’s chief of occupational therapy:

They think it’s for entertainment, but we know it’s for therapy.”

And what happens when you turn therapy into entertainment? Patients are more motivated to do it, they stick with it longer, and they get better faster. It remains to be seen whether active videogame systems like the Wii, Playstation Move or Xbox Kinect will ever replace traditional PT. But this much is undeniable: they sure as hell make it more fun.

To read more on how doctors use the Wii for therapy, check out this link.

For an overall summary of how the Wii is used for PT, click here.

You can see some videos of the Wii in action here.

For more info on stroke rehab and the Wii, click here

… and here.

And for an ABC news story on how senoirs use the Wii for rehab, click here.