Wii Fit Plus doesn't help vertigo sufferers, but it's still a lot of fun

71 patients with balance issues related to illness found no further improvement by the use of virtual reality.

AN ILLNESS THAT causes vertigo and vomiting shows no more improvement by virtual reality therapy than traditional exercises.

new study finds that while Wii Fit Plus might be enjoyable for patients, it doesn’t actually lead to better outcomes for patients suffering from unilateral peripheral vestibular loss (UVL).

The condition effects the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements. UVL can have an array of physical and functional limitations that affect patients’ everyday activities.

Virtual reality 

The research led by the Health Research Board compared the effectiveness of virtual reality–based balance exercises to conventional balance exercises during vestibular rehabilitation in patients.

shutterstock_171519368 Shutterstock / Image Point Fr Shutterstock / Image Point Fr / Image Point Fr

It involved 71 patients at Beaumont and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear hospitals.

Lead researcher, Dr Dara Meldrum, School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, explains that the systematic reviews in the area of balance rehab are all finding that the use of technology is not, so far, superior to conventional treatment.

It’s not quite the holy grail we thought it might be.

shutterstock_189357482 Shutterstock / digitalreflections Shutterstock / digitalreflections / digitalreflections

While the findings published in the journal Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed it didn’t actually lead to better patient outcomes it did show that patient enjoyment was substantially higher in the Wii Fit Plus group.

I think that virtual reality based exercises still have a role to play in balance rehab, but it might be confined to tracking exercises to better enable us to prescribe variables like the number of repetitions, the intensity and duration of exercises’.

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