Research Wii Fit


Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2013 Mar 11. [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based rehabilitation of balance using the Nintendo Wii Balance Board System (WBBS) in patients affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
METHODS: In this 24-week, randomized, 2-period crossover pilot study, 36 patients having an objective balance disorder were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to 2 counterbalanced arms. Group A started a 12-week period of home-based WBBS training followed by a 12-week period without any intervention; group B received the treatment in reverse order. As endpoints, we considered the mean difference (compared with baseline) in force platform measures (ie, the displacement of body center of pressure in 30 seconds), 4-step square test (FSST), 25-foot timed walking test (25-FWT), and 29-item MS Impact Scale (MSIS-29), as evaluated after 12 weeks and at the end of the 24-week study period.
RESULTS: The 2 groups did not differ in baseline characteristics. Repeated-measures analyses of variance showed significant time × treatment effects, indicating that WBBS was effective in ameliorating force platform measures (F = 4.608, P = .016), FSST (F = 3.745, P = .034), 25-FWT (F = 3.339, P = .048), and MSIS-29 (F = 4.282, P = .023). Five adverse events attributable to the WBSS training (knee or low back pain) were recorded, but only 1 patient had to retire from the study.
CONCLUSION: A home-based WBBS training might potentially provide an effective, engaging, balance rehabilitation solution for people with MS. However, the risk of WBBS training-related injuries should be carefully balanced with benefits. Further studies, including cost-effectiveness analyses, are warranted to establish whether WBBS may be useful in the home setting.
There appeared to be some benefit from using Wii balance, but as ever more information is needed. What is your experience?

About the author



  • the study seems to be missing the opportunity to compare a 12-week stint of the same exercises while not using a WII…

  • I was recommended to use WiiFit by my physio, who tells me that the equipment is being used increasingly as a diagnostic tool in physio clinics – mainly because the sensor on the board gives an image of your balance. When you step on the board, a circle appears which should be dead centre – the direction and degree to which it deviates is an accurate picture of the patient's gait imbalance. The picture above is not quite accurate: none of the games require you to balance on one leg (unless there's a newer version than mine). I would say they are ultra-safe as you keep both feet still at all times. The other parts of the program are yoga and fitness. These ARE more difficult as regards balance. The nice thing is that the games are quite silly! Funny music and daft cartoons that lift your spirits! I find them tricky, but no more so than my non-MS friends. The manoeuvres depend largely on split-second reaction times and quite frankly, I think anyone over about 18 wouldn't be able to get really high scores. Well worth doing and definitely FUN.

  • My local MS Therapy Centre at Halton is very keen. They have two, kindly donated by other people. The reaction from the physio, who is setting it up, is very positive but I've not yet had a chance to try one out. I will let you know

  • I've begun a more serious focus on my fitness, and am currently aiming at working out every day with my Wii Fit. Going well, and able to do more and more exercises and for longer periods of time. Fun and effective.

  • I have had MS for 38 years and have as a rule done pretty well,however balance and fatigue are my biggest issues. I tend to be pretty active anyway- swim 3 times per week and work out with resistance machines 2 times per week. In addition I do a Tai Chi video at home. I also invested in a WiiFit Plus years ago and even though I don;t do it every day I do feel that it helps. I love the games- they are fun and challenging and it encourages me to improve my scores. I like the visual feedback which helps me correct my movements and balance. Having said all that- some days are better than others.

By MouseDoctor



Recent Posts

Recent Comments