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Wii Games Helping Stroke Survivors

Those popular Wii games are offering a new benefit this time to stroke survivors. Patients who play active Wii video games are having fun and also regaining lost strength and motor skills in the process.

In a first-of-its-kind study, 11 stroke victims with weakness in their arms could reach out and grab objects more easily and more quickly after two weeks of playing the active video games. Other stroke survivors who engaged in card and block games showed no change in arm strength.

Virtual gaming is probably effective because patients are engaged and having fun for hours and at the same time improving their strength.

Until the video games prove safe in larger numbers of stroke survivors — shoulder pain being the main concern — it’s too soon to recommend people start playing Wii games after stroke, researchers say.

This is a significant finding because thousands of Americans are affected by strokes every year. A Stroke can cause death or significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Those with health insurance are at a lower risk for strokes. Also, those who engage in healthy eating and exercise decrease their chances of stroke.

Here are a few ways to help prevent stroke:

  • Avoid fatty foods. Follow a healthy, low-fat diet.
  • Do not drink more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Exercise regularly: 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight; 60 – 90 minutes a day if you are overweight.
  • Get medical insurance and have your blood pressure checked every 1 – 2 years, especially if high blood pressure runs in your family.
  • Have your cholesterol checked. If you are at high risk for stroke, your LDL “bad” cholesterol should be lower

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