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Wii Boosts Parkinson's Treatments

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the name-was-inevitable dept.

Medicine 122

mmmscience writes "Scientists are investigating the use of Wii Sports as a form of treatment for Parkinson's sufferers. After a four-week study, researchers found that rounds of tennis, bowling, and boxing improved rigidity, movement, fine motor skills, and energy levels as well as decreasing the occurrence of depression. It is thought that combining exercise with video games helps to increase levels of dopamine, a chemical that is deficient in Parkinson's. The therapy is gaining notoriety under the name Wii-hab."

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...lol (3, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308483)

In other news: Exercise is good for you. No matter how flimsy the method you use.

Re:...lol (1)

stmok (1331127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308577)

Isn't it more cost effective to make exercise fun, rather than spend money on Wii and its accessories?
=> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iYBmAVuBns [youtube.com]

Re:...lol (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308759)

No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

The trick is getting yourself to start exercising in the first place. A sufficiently addictive game would be a good incentive. The best incentive I ever had was a girl in my neighborhood who ran at roughly the same time every day in nothing but skimpy spandex.

Re:...lol (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308837)

did you ever 'catch up' to her?

I agree though, it's all about making a good incentive. The wii happens to be an easy one, so I see nothing wrong with that. People used super nintendo and other systems prior, so this is not a new idea. It's just more involved and simpler now.

Re:...lol (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308973)

I'm a bit weird. The more beautiful I think a girl is, the less inclined I am to talk to her...Not because I'm intimidated, but because I worry that she'll open her mouth and say something moronic, and that'll spoil it.

Re:...lol (3, Funny)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309923)

been there done that, just mute them in your head it makes life better.

there's nothing worse (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310803)

than seeing a hot chick, taking in her attractiveness

and then she brings a cigarette to her mouth

instant killjoy

Re:there's nothing worse (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311861)

A friend of mine used to say "would you kiss an ashtray".

Re:there's nothing worse (1)

Kz (4332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312981)

been there, done that. never again.

Re:there's nothing worse (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312065)

Meh. An oral fixation is an oral fixation ;)

The thing that turns me off more than anything else is people who walk around with an unpleasant look on their face all the time. It's like a subtle mirror of the soul. If someone, no matter how pretty otherwise, walks around 24/7 with that borderline bitchy sneer grafted to their face...Yech.

Re:there's nothing worse (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312371)

Wait, you avoid women with an oral fixation~

Re:...lol (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311127)

Oh....The Jessica Simpson effect?

Re:...lol (2, Insightful)

NotWithABang (1570431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311985)

You know, I don't think that makes you weird, I'm in the same boat.

When I was younger I spent more than my fair share of time with "the hotties" (yes yes, i know, slashdotters don't get hot girls, he's lying, etc etc) and I really started to detest them. From their lack of original or relevant thought to their pointless conversation-killing automated responses to their reflex-like "look-cute" maneuver any time they wanted to escape accountability (which, incidentally, was ALWAYS), I just couldn't stand it anymore.

I think it has something to do with the adolescent development process where those of us who are average or less are forced to develop social skills and be interesting or otherwise risk alienating everyone. On the other hand, no matter how vacant an attractive girl is, she's always being sniffed by throngs of horny males and thus, being never left alone, is never forced to develop the social skills the rest of us develop until much later in life.

To this day, "average" is all I find attractive. Sure, the pretty ones are nice to look at on tv but just the thought of the headache I'll get being with them again in real life honestly makes my head throb... errr... the one i think with... ... that has hair... on top!

Re:...lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312333)

"The more beautiful I think a girl is, the less inclined I am to talk to her."

That actually happens a lot. In fact, once a learned that, I made a point of talking to the most beautiful women in a room.
I scored a lot more often with the super hot chick then with an 'average' looking woman.

When I was looking to score, I couldn't care less if she said something stupid. Just as long as we were clear it was just a brief encounter.

Read Feynman's stuff on this, he had it right.

Re:...lol (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308875)

Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions.

You mean I need to be vomiting, cumming and having explosive diarrhea to have sex? No thanks.

Re:...lol (3, Funny)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308939)

To quote the horrible, horrible, Meatloaf.... "cause two out of three aint bad".

Re:...lol (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309031)

You mean I need to be vomiting, cumming and having explosive diarrhea to have sex? No thanks.

I'm sure there's a Japanese word for what you describe, but I'm not about to go look it up.

Re:...lol (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309071)

You mean I need to be vomiting, cumming and having explosive diarrhea to have sex? No thanks.

You forgot bleeding. Oh, yes, the delicious bleeding.

Was that my out-loud voice?

Re:...lol (1)

ZFox (860519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310763)

I think you're doing it wrong.

Re:...lol (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309025)

Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

I can't debate the physiology of this, but I don't think the effect is universal. I have friends who love to lift weights, and others who love to run. I hate both: The only thing it makes me feel is tired and hungry. I've hear them wax poetically about loving "the burn" or "the runners high" and I've gone with them, and never felt it.

However, I love to play DDR and Ultimate Frisbee. I could play any of those until my body can't take any more - and then I keep going. It is not the physical activity alone that makes it fun - it is the mental challenge. I can only assume that people are just wired-up differently.

Re:...lol (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309229)

Personally, once my heart rate gets up I feel great. I spend my whole exercise cycle thinking, "Jesus, why don't I do this 3 times a day?" Then I hit the cool-down period, and all the pain catches up, and I stagger around for an hour or so wondering if I'm going to die.

I don't do weights though. It's only cardio that makes me feel good. And even there, I have to be moving. Riding an exercise bike is a chore. The only "stationary" cardio I can do for any period of time is jumping rope, because it's entertaining.

Re:...lol (2, Insightful)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309237)

I can't speak definitively on the physiology here, but I don't think it's really quite that subjective. People respond to intense aerobic exercise with dopamine release, the same way that people release insulin in response to glucose. Some people might have flaws in that system, but overall, this is "how it works". I believe the system is designed to make you able to keep going even when running started being unpleasant, since if you are running, it's most likely (in the long term scheme at least) because something is chasing you, or you're chasing something, and either way, you'd want to keep going even after the oxygen levels in your muscles drop enough to cause lactic acid build up and the accompanying pain. A little bit of brain chemicals will help you ignore it and catch food/avoid being food.

The dopamine release may contribute to "loving the burn" or the "runner's high" but they aren't the sole cause. I love video games, and I also happen to like running. The runner's high I get doesn't work on a treadmill, though. I hate treadmills. Staring at a wall while running ruins the entire experience for me. But if I forced myself to do it, I still get dopamine released afterward. I just didn't enjoy it, because I was too busy thinking "wow this sucks a lot".

I think you just don't like running. Which is fair. I doubt you don't release dopamine after aerobic exercise. You just don't notice it that much because you're thinking "wow this sucks a lot".

Re:...lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28311939)

I use weightlifting as a game. Trying to get those numbers up is very addicting, especially once you accept that you can't level up as quickly as you did at first.

Re:...lol (2, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309275)

Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

Only if you're lucky.

Some people have bodies tuned to do this. You're obviously one of them, and I envy you: you get rewarded for exercise. Other people don't. I find exercise uncomfortable, very hard work, and unutterably dull. I don't zone out, I don't get endorphins, I just have to keep working at it, and it never gets any easier --- if I train, all that happens is that I can keep going longer, which means I can prolong the agony. Some reward.

And yes, I am doing it right. A couple of years ago I entered a 10km road race in my town, and with that deadline as an incentive I carefully trained up over a couple of months, and eventually did the race and got a decent time (about 1 hour 5 minutes, IIRC). I've still got the pot-metal medal they gave me for completing it somewhere. Did I get a feeling of accomplishment for doing this? Yes. Was it worth my time? No, not really.

Of course, you probably won't believe me, telling me that I simply need to find the right technique, or the right sport for me, etc. The problem is that athletic types tend to have metabolisms like yours, and because you get a biochemical reward you find it very hard to empathise with people like me, who don't. While you find working out etc to be a goal in and of itself, the only way I can do it on a regular basis is by iron willpower. I'm sure that if I were to exercise hard every day for six months or so my metabolism would change gears and I'd get those mythical endorphins, but dear god, the mere thought makes me cringe...

(BTW, I can only recall one case of an exercise related endorphin rush: I was spending New Year in Switzerland, in a hutte at the top of a 600m ascent. The first day I climbed it I felt really, really good, disturbingly so, for about 30 minutes afterward. The other 13 days of my two week holiday? I climbed that sodding mountain every day, and all I felt was tired...)

Re:...lol (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309593)

And yes, I am doing it right. A couple of years ago I entered a 10km road race in my town, and with that deadline as an incentive I carefully trained up over a couple of months, and eventually did the race and got a decent time (about 1 hour 5 minutes, IIRC). I've still got the pot-metal medal they gave me for completing it somewhere. Did I get a feeling of accomplishment for doing this? Yes. Was it worth my time? No, not really.

I posit that there is some other form of physical exertion that would give you more of a mental/emotional positive-feedback loop, which will help push you to that physical state of endorphin-induced satori. Maybe it's marathons, maybe it's marathon orgies; for me Mountain Biking is the only all-physical sport (I am the only engine - I bike up, too, which is the tedious part) which holds my interest enough to get me into that state.

Think of it like sex; you ran the race, that's like getting your nut. Sure, you finished, and there's a sense of achievement. But maybe if you had participated in a biathlon (my example because it involves endurance and I think it's cool; useful skills in a nuclear winter) you would have had the full experience, and actually died the little death. (As opposed to the big one, which happens to runners all the time. If you're not built to run, you should try to avoid it.)

Re:...lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312421)

No, it's like having sex for an hour, nonstop.

At that point, it's not fun.

Re:...lol (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309713)

No need to be defensive. Everyone is different.

It definitely does matter how crazy you are in the long term, however. I ran competitively for 7 years, and topped 15 miles a day for 3 of those years. Doesn't take much to to make me feel good when I'm running (and I have wicked knee problems now, so I'm not in any kind of great shape).

Still it's always going to be work. Due to my knee issues, I need a lot of warm up and cool down, and I tend to feel like crap in the mornings, or whenever it rains.

It definitely helps to enjoy it. I still love to run and cycle.

re.. (2, Interesting)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310159)

I have an (off topic) question for you.

Hmmm. If you could purchase a discrete device that would release endorphins whenever you were doing exercise. Would you buy it?
Would you voluntarily rewire yourself?

Re:...lol (3, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309359)

No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions. If you're doing it right, it feels great.

Pheh. For some people. Generally, endorphins, the thing that actually gives you the high, doesn't get going until you're a long way into the exercise regimine and even then it usually doesn't counteract the pain and tedium of plain-ol weight lifting, running, or whatever other boring thing.

I've done em all, regularly for years even, and well I just never saw this "no need to make exercise fun" thing. My friend who was heavily into running and marathons and such, once said when I asked him about runner's high. "That's a bunch of crap," he said, and you only feel it when you've been running for miles anyway. Which is not something Parkinson's sufferers are going to do.

So yeah. "Exercise" by itself is boring as hell and praying for an endorphine high as payoff isn't going to work for a lot of people. Fun things that also happen to be exercise are fun. I like rock climbing. That gets me going. For others, Wii Sports or Wii Fit might be what they need.

if i don't run for a few days (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310445)

i begin to fantasize about it

i'm an addict

Re:...lol (4, Funny)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309483)

No need to make exercise fun. Exercise is like sex, when you're doing it your body is spewing dopamine, endorphins, and bodily fluids in all directions.

I call it: "The Aristocrats!"

Re:...lol (2, Funny)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309645)

Exercise is like sex

And sex is exercise.

You can watch the girl in spandex all you want. I'll be getting my exercise helping her "cool down".

Giggity.

Re:...lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312287)

No, many people find regular exercise to be a pain in the ass.
Even the exercise king himself, Jacques Lalanne, talks about what a pain in the ass exercise is, but he does it anyways.

"The trick is getting yourself to start exercising in the first place"
Yep.

"The best incentive I ever had was a girl in my neighborhood who ran at roughly the same time every day in nothing but skimpy spandex."
You can stay at home, find that on the internet and then burn a few wrist calories .

Re:...lol (4, Insightful)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308935)

Well in this study, they mention that they see significant improvements in depression symptoms and dopamine levels, which you don't see with normal exercise, and the researchers hypothesize that something about the video game component is causing this. There are actually quite a few studies finding that using the Wii is an incredibly effective form of rehab. One case report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18689607?ordinalpos=13&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

And all of the studies refer to it as a "low-cost gaming console". In comparison to traditional rehab, which cost just as much in equipment then add in the billing rate of a physical or occupational therapist, the Wii is dirt cheap.

Re:...lol (1)

Maximus633 (1316457) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310221)

What if I am in rehab for being addicted to video games? Guess this won't help me much... :-(

Re:...lol (2, Funny)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311485)

Wii Fit includes a 12-step program, and from all the reports I've been hearing, people have been saying that they feel significantly more full of life after going through the program. I might be getting it confused with something else, but I think the steps you go through are Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start.

Well, that's just 11 steps, but I know it's something like that...

Re:...lol (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28313095)

I believe you may have forgotten the SELECT just before the START? That puts you at 12.

Right on.

Re:...lol (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28313279)

Heh, good catch. I actually had it in there, but then figured it sounded a bit funnier if I had a follow up comment of some sort, and couldn't think of anything else that was decent.

Re:...lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309167)

Not necessarily for Parkinson's patients. No matter how many times the PT shows my dad the exercises, he won't do them unless we make him. He'll play with a video game though. I need to get a Wii. I wish they had mentioned more about the specific games besides bowling and tennis. Anyone have a link to something that mentions which games are best for Wiihab?

Surely the point is that (0, Offtopic)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310371)

Wii does make exercise fun. I think that this is just plain cool.

Re:Surely the point is that (3, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311501)

I can attest to this fact. As someone who hadn't intentionally exercised for more than about 5 days out of the last 5 years, I just started exercising after buying a Wii Fit recently. Laugh all you want, but I've already shed a few pounds, and I figure that there's no point in arguing with results, regardless of how embarrassing it is.

Re:...lol (4, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311611)

Isn't it more cost effective to make exercise fun, rather than spend money on Wii and its accessories?

At ~$340 wouldn't a Wii and accessories be cheaper than most dedicated exercise machines? Not to mention probably take up less space when you consider that you can dual purpose the TVs and use the Wiis for other games or just put them away.

In any case, 'making exercise fun' might be more expensive than you think. Sure, a class type workout with an instructor can be interesting and effective, but you have to pay the instructor. That gets expensive quick, even if you have a couple dozen in the class.

Running on a track - boring & painful. Music player of whatever stripe is of limited effectiveness for me.
Running on a treadmill - even more boring.
Running on a treadmill with a TV hooked up - better, especially depending on the program. Still limited.

Using a Wii? Interactive! Real feedback would make it much better. Easier access to exercise tracking can help make sure it remains interesting, tracking stats over time to provide better feedback, etc...

And with Parkinson's, it's likely that they'd need a physical therapist to design a workout - due to varying abilities it might be difficult to place them in a mass class.

Re:...lol (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308925)

It's not just the exercise.

The great thing about today's video games are the reward schedules that make games so damn addictive. These rewards cause dopamine release, which helps offset Parkinson's.

What I wonder is if there's a "Flowers for Algernon" type effect -- like with Levadopa, is tolerance built up quickly? Do patients doing Wii-hab for Parkinson's need to take a "Wii holiday" the same way Parkinson's patients on Levadopa need to take a drug holiday to reset their tolerance?

Re:...lol (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310183)

Exactly. I mostly think of RPGs as a pointless waste of time (apart from the community aspect), because of the grinding often required to get anywhere. The weird thing is though, that when I do play those types of games I still find it easy to get addicted. Combining RPG gameplay with an exercise plan would be an easy way to make it feel more worthwhile.

In the same way, I taught myself to play drums as my friends and I wanted to start a band but we were all guitarists. Once the band fell apart I hardly ever played even though I had acquired an electronic kit to practice on. Then I bought Rock Band and suddenly I was getting graded on how well I played and had the challenge of 'beating' songs instead of just playing them. I have seriously become a much better drummer just through playing a lot of Rock Band, it helped a lot with limb separation. Playing in a band is great fun too, but it wouldn't have taught me how to play new rhythms or rewarded me as much for keeping perfect time, I think there are some great possibilities for learning via computer games, whether that's learning physical skills or more academic ones.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28311239)

http://xkcd.com/189/

Re:...lol (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311301)

It's not just the exercise. The great thing about today's video games are the reward schedules that make games so damn addictive. These rewards cause dopamine release, which helps offset Parkinson's. What I wonder is if there's a "Flowers for Algernon" type effect -- like with Levadopa, is tolerance built up quickly? Do patients doing Wii-hab for Parkinson's need to take a "Wii holiday" the same way Parkinson's patients on Levadopa need to take a drug holiday to reset their tolerance?

Or would it be reasonable for doctors to measure dopamine produced and tell their patients when it's time to buy a new game? "This test suggests you might be getting bored with wii sports. Maybe you should try switching to Punch Out!"

Re:...lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312449)

Hard to say in this instance, but in every other example I can think of, exercise continues to provide the same health benefits aven after time.

So a 30 minute walk everyday gives you pretty much the same benefit even after years.

Elderly people observed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28310845)

Yes exercise is good, a couple of months ago i fell over on some ice (i know stupid) - i now have metal pins in one leg and have since got over using crutches. Most (95%) of people in the mixed hospital ward where over 65 years old.

I like to walk and yes i wanted to get back to using both legs. My observation about some elderly people in that short time is that pain and the motivation to say walk to the shops (think europe) /use stairs etc is not a top priority. I'm doing physio now and even how i observe that the +65 age group may not be as active, or have the mental need to push forward.

It to does not surprise me that a wii can be used this way, but a persons motivation helps more.
 

Re:...lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312249)

It's not flimsy, its a way to make it enjoyable and it motivates people to exercise more.

That's the key. How you burn the calories is secondary to actually doing it.

How is novva formed? (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308505)

How is novva formed? How star get expladed?

They need to do way instain journalists> who kill thier starrs. becuse these starrs cant frigth back it was on the news this mroing a journalist in fox who had kill her three braincells . they are taking the three braincells back to new york too jon stewart to rest my pary are with the Orion who lost his chrilden ; i am truley sorry for your lots

Re:How is novva formed? (-1, Offtopic)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308645)

What? Did you mean to post on this [slashdot.org] story? Even then, what?

Re:How is novva formed? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28308811)

Heh, Smidge. Reminds me of my friend who is an obese dope addict. [youtube.com]

I made a cartoon of his two remaining brain cells talking back and forth inside his hollow skull. The conversation went something like this:

Brain Cell 1: "Coke..."
Brain Cell 2: "...CAINE!
Brain Cell 1: "Coke..."
Brain Cell 2: "...CAINE!

etc.

wii-hab? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28308525)

Isn't that just a LITTLE wii-tarded?

Is it Wii week here on Slashdot? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308537)

There have been a startling number of stories directly or peripherally about the Wii.

Video games are good! (1)

werfu (1487909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308573)

Finaly video games prove they can have some good too (nothing to prove to me or any geek, just my grand-parents :P)

Preventitive Medicine? (1)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308643)

I am very interested to see whether or not use of the Wii could result in either preventing Parkinson's or delaying it significantly. Obviously there isn't any data available at this point on such theory, but I think 20 to 30 years down the road it would be interesting to see what happens to people who regularly used Wii and future Wii-like consoles.

Of course, since IIANDoctor, I have no idea on the science behind that. Anyone know whether or not that's feasible?

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308715)

I don't believe Parkinson's is related to a lack of exercise or a lack of anything that the Wii would provide. From what I understand they usually don't even know what causes the disease in the first place.

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (3, Interesting)

cecille (583022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308913)

They don't know what causes it exactly, but most research indicates it is caused by problems with the dopamine system. In a particularly unfortunate incident, some bad "designer heroin" got loose and caused users to develop what appeared to be incredibly fast-onset late stage Parkinson's. Nasty bit of business, but a boon for researchers. More info here. Sad case, but interesting.

http://classes.uleth.ca/200901/chem2600a/Designer%20Drugs%20PPT.pdf [uleth.ca]

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308963)

I remember something about that incident. I think there is a conspiracy theory surrounding that.

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309147)

They don't know what causes it exactly

They do know what causes it. Death of dopaminergic neurons in a specific part of the brain, and/or inactivation of dopamine receptors on those neurons.

The underlying causes, though, are still not completely clear. As from your link, certain chemicals can cause this.

But it's important to note that dopaminergic receptors die off regularly, anyway (IIRC ~5% per year) but no Parkinson's symptoms are exhibited until there are very few dopaminergic receptors in that part of the brain... sure wish I could remember the name of the region.

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309409)

Sorry, what I meant was that they don't know what actually causes the problem with the dopamine receptors to start. The brain region is the substantia nigra (didn't remember either, but it's in the link).

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309473)

It's called the substantia nigra pars compacta (or just substantia nigra for short), which is in the tegmentum (a portion of the brainstem).

People do not develop symptoms of Parkinson's disease until 75-80% of the dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra are dead and gone (or at least no longer producing dopamine).

Re:Preventitive Medicine? (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309407)

Nope. Using the Wii will not prevent Parkinson's disease. It's possible it could delay the symptoms slightly or at least help PD patients adapt to them but the only thing that will cure PD is something that replaces the lost dopaminergic cells in the brainstem.

What about the new Wii Sports? (1)

jshackles (957031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308783)

This is bunk, as many people have said before... exercise is good medicine. Who wants to wager that the new "updated" version of Wii Sports, with the Motion Plus controls, will be put on a similar test and researchers will waste another couple of million dollars figuring out that moving around is good for Parkinsons.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309033)

This is bunk, as many people have said before... exercise is good medicine.

Ah yes, "This is bunk" states known Parkinson's expert and physiology sage jshackles.

Before you call it bunk... do you know what causes Parkinson's? Do you know what neurotransmitter abnormality causes Parkinson's symptoms?

Do you know what neurotransmitters are the mediators of the response we know as "feeling of accomplishment"?

Do you know how video games stimulate that response?

Do you know, even discounting the neurotransmitter impact, how exercise via the Wii differs from other "standard" methods of exercise, and how this might specifically be of use to Parkinson's sufferers? Do you know if using a Wii for fine motor control exercise has a higher percentage of participants actually sticking to their rehabilitation schedules than traditional methods?

In short... you call it bunk... but it seems VERY clear to me that (1) you don't know much about the subject and (2) you didn't bother researching it at all before decrying it.

Even if this study was bunk, your refutation of it is even worse... at least they bothered to collect data before making any kind of conclusion.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (1)

beschra (1424727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309283)

someone mod this parent up.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309517)

Best "Der, I'm shmarter than teh scientists" Tard Smackdown I've seen in a while.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28310657)

Either that, or (more likely, IMO) worst failure to realize someone was being trolled in a while...

Looking back, it seems that the parent to my post made a pretty good quality troll, and I fell for it -- badly.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28311653)

Do smart people troll?

Serious question.

In any event, whether he was trolling or not you smacked him down hard, and it was good.

Re:What about the new Wii Sports? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312103)

The best trolls are smart people, I think. They'd need to be smart to be able to regularly troll people without being detected as a troll.

I personally find good, creative trolls amusing. It's the stupid repetitive ones that are truly annoying and add nothing to the site.

Works even better with Alzheimer's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28308873)

As you can hand the patient a racket and tell them they are playing a Wii.

Don't try this trick with boxing gloves as further brian trauma is not helpful in this population.

Sorry, dad.

Proves once again.. (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308889)

That eye/body/hand/whatever coordination excercise is good for your general health and actually develops your brain.
Nothing new here.

Re:Proves once again.. (1)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308957)

Nothing new here, unless you have a relative who struggles with Parkinson's and you have more hope for helping the crippling symptoms subside a bit.

Misleading title? (2, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308893)

It sounds like it is used to treat the effects of the symptoms of parkison's. It doesn't do anything to treat Parkisons itself.

Re:Misleading title? (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308927)

How is it misleading, is there anything that actually treats Parkinsons as opposed to just the symptoms?

Re:Misleading title? (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309089)

Um, yes, there are things that treat Parkinson's and the summary is a bit misleading. Probably not intentionally because it is easier to chalk it up to stupidity than being maliciously misleading.

Re:Misleading title? (2, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309523)

Yes. Administering Levodopa (a dopamine precurser) actually "treats Parkinson's" because it replaces the dopamine that is lost in the brain. However, people build a tolerance to the drug. We don't have anything at the moment that cures Parkinson's disease, although there is promise with stem cell treatments. We don't even know what causes the loss of the substantia nigra cells (where dopamine is largely produced) in the first place.

Re:Misleading title? (2, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309007)

You clearly don't watch House or you would've understood it right away. I can't believe you would be so unintelligent to not watch such an amazingly realistic account of the practice of medicine! Go and redeem yourself via Hulu before you become truly lost.

Re:Misleading title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28313377)

It sounds like it is used to treat the effects of the symptoms of parkison's. It doesn't do anything to treat Parkisons itself.

It sounds like it is used to treat the effects of the symptoms of parkison's. It doesn't do anything to treat Parkisons itself.

I am the researcher whos study is written about and yes you are correct...I am not an MD or Biochemist so I woill not be able to find a cure for it however, my job is to keep a person as independent as possible and slow the degenerative process...that is what I am trying to do...so while I cannot address the Disease I can slow the symptons so that the degeneration is slower and people can remain independent longer and have a better quality of life...Dr. N. B. Herz

Free Wiis (2, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308997)

So, does that mean if Obama's health care package get's passed, the government will pay for video games for Parkinson's sufferers?

Re:Free Wiis (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309299)

Cheaper than any other options...

Except maybe the Ultimate Solution. Which I'm not that keen on, personally.

Re:Free Wiis (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312523)

If it has the same or better effect as drugs, then I certainly hope so, much cheaper.

Watered down experience (4, Funny)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309079)

So what this article is saying, is that the Wii provides a "watered down" Parkinson's experience.

For a change.. something supporting TFA (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309151)

Dr. Ben Hertz, a director of Occupational Therapy at MCG, explained that "participants showed significant improvements in rigidity, movement, fine motor skills and energy levels. Perhaps most impressively, most participants' depression levels decreased to zero." [MCG] Depression is a major impact factor in Parkinson's, with at least half of the patients reporting the mental illness.

No neurological studies have been done to solidify the reasons behind the improvement. However, Hertz believes that the combination of exercise and video games helps boost dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter that is severely deficient in Parkinson's disease. That is the motivation behind using the Wii over another video game system; Wii requires whole-body movement instead of the simple isolated finger movements on a traditional controller.

While we only have a correlation here and no direct link, I actually think the researchers may be onto something. The reason why this is more than old news is not the physical activity, but the emotional and mental components.

Playing sports for real requires lifting the appropriate equipment, and learning the skill. Wii Sports is simpler, and simply requires basic motions. The remote is also much lighter and easier to handle.

The time invested learning vs the return in enjoyment ramps up faster and if you are a depressed parkinson's patient, being able to easily do a little exercise with a simple little console can emotionally be a big deal. I do not have parkinson's, but I've tried learning tennis and it's a pain in the ass to me, but I enjoy a little wii tennis from time to time with my niece.

And finally, playing a computer game is still novel. Most patients are going to look at something like this and it will be enjoyable. It's not some uber FPS or strategy game where they have to learn 20 combos. They swing a remote and have a little fun with their friends.

The physical activity has always been important, but other consoles don't give you physical interaction, you mash buttons. If you are a parkinson's patient and you can feel like you are doing something, you are not only getting a physical component, but a much needed mental and emotional component.

Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (2)

Karna99 (784157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309177)

Is there nothing the Wii can't do.

Re:Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (5, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309289)

Change you can bewiive in.

Re:Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309315)

Anything Wii can do.. I can do better!

Re:Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309557)

Isn't it, "Anything you can do, Wii can do it better?"

Re:Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (0)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309461)

Nothing can prevent death or taxes.

However, with Wii Die and Wii Audit, you can cause them! Coming soon to a retailer near you.

Re:Wii Games to soon cure Death & Taxes (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312593)

Fail.

Science Breakthrough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309431)

"Scientists" have found whacking-off improves blood circulation.

Why not... (1)

anish1411 (671295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309519)

...smoke some dope? Of course, patients selection should be stressed, but I think this is one of the few disease where prescibed cannabis really would help. Maybe not smoke, but ingestion or something like that. And I'm sure the side-effects will be very welcome B-) Seriously though, there's some decent evidence out there for the use of cannabis for Parkinson's.

Re:Why not... (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309739)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15477546?ordinalpos=13&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

Short version: Pot didn't help keep the patients on the most effective meds. (which is an issue for Parkinson's... you can't just take the meds forever. They stop working)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15111259?ordinalpos=18&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

Short version: pot might help people with Parkinson's, and here's how. Need to test that out.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15372606?ordinalpos=15&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum [nih.gov]

Short version: if you ask patients, 25% of them admit to using pot, and about half of those people said it helps.

I couldn't find any trials on cannabis alone as a treatment or how it compares to Levadopa in my cursory 2 minutes search.

Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28310091)

Parkinsons Disease + Career in IS + Kids (but no Wife) = No time for Wii

Can't seem to fix that one.

m#o3 down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28310373)

in other news... (1)

gotem (678274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311325)

the patients are challenging anyone to beat them at Wario Land: Shake it.

Not to detract, but.... (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312297)

There's nothing about Wii that makes it any better than any other similar exercise. We used the Apple //GS "tour" program for the same thing, back when it was brand new. We also used a computerized version of the old psych-test "trail making test" on a Mac 128, back when it was new too.

Fact is, it's not really the exercise that does the trick, it's giving the brain a task where it can plan a trajectory of movement. You can get the same effect almost instantly by giving a Parky a cane. They don;t need it to walk, they place it out in front of themselves and walk towards it. Planning that trajectory makes execution much easier. Once the trick is learned, games and canes are not longer needed. For a while.

Using these doesn't increase dopamine levels. What they do is give the brain reason to make more use of what little there is. It grows more receptors in response. It has the same effect of increasing dopamine. It's preferable to dopaminerigic drugs which have nasty side effects much like antipsychotics (extrapyramidal symptoms, like tardive dyskenesia). Newer drugs like pramipexole (Mirapex) don't have those side effects, but are fairly expensive. A cane is much cheaper.

Wiihab? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28312633)

Sounds like the facility Elmer Fudd checked himself into to cure himself from his addiction to, in his words, "Bwasting wabbits."

Still Waiting (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28313209)

I am still waiting for a golf game with the same simple gameplay as WII Sports Golf but lets you play of all the major courses in the world.
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