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Wii training may help MS patients regain balance


New research suggests the Wii Balance Board System may offer a promising new tool for multiple sclerosis patients. A team of researchers, led by Dr. Luca Prosperini from Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, found that training with the video game system accessory may help lower the risk of accidental falls in MS sufferers.

The study revealed that magnetic resonance imaging scans in the brains of participants with MS who used the Wii balance board showed "favorable" changes in brain connections linked to balance and movement.

Researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging on 27 MS patients who participated in Wii balance board-based visual feedback training for 12 weeks. After analyzing the MRI scans, the team found that the MS patients exhibited changes in nerve tracts important in movement and balance.

Though the balance and movement improvements in the patients were promising, these changes did not continue after they stopped the training program. The research team noted that this is most likely because certain structural changes in the brain after an injury need to be constantly maintained.

The research study was published in the journal Radiology.

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