Today I read a paper titled “Are Game Platforms suitable for Parkinson Disease patients?”
The abstract is:
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects more that 6 million people worldwide.
Motor dysfunction gradually increases as the disease progress.
It is usually mild in the early stages of the disease but it relentlessly progresses to a severe or very severe disability that is characterized by increasing degrees of bradykinesia, hypokinesia, muscle rigidity, loss of postural reflexes and balance control as well as freezing of gait.
In addition to a line of treatment based on dopaminergic PD-specific drugs, attending neurologists strongly recommend regular exercise combined with physiotherapy.
However, the routine of traditional rehabilitation often create boredom and loss of interest.
Opportunities to liven up a daily exercise schedule may well take the form of character-based virtual reality games which engage the player to physically train in a non-linear and looser fashion, providing an experience that varies from one game loop the next.
Such “exergames”, a word that results from the amalgamation of the words “exercise” and “game” challenge patients into performing movements of varying complexity in a playful and immersive virtual environment.
In fact, today’s game consoles using controllers like Nintendo’s Wii, Sony PlayStation Eye and the Microsoft Kinect sensor present new opportunities to infuse motivation and variety to an otherwise mundane physiotherapy routine.
But are these controllers and the games built for them appropriate for PD patients? In this paper we present some of these approaches and discuss their suitability for these patients mainly on the basis of demands made on balance, agility and gesture precision.