Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Elderly fallers in Essex Wii Fit balance study

Ivy Kelly and Margaret Craig
A Scottish care home uses the Nintendo Wii to try to combat falls

Elderly people in Essex who suffer from recurrent falls are to take part in a study to find out if using games consoles can improve their balance.

Essex University and Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust will ask patients to use Nintendo Wii Fit as part of their physiotherapy.

The university hopes "having fun" will encourage greater take-up of rehabilitative exercises.

The Wii Fit teaches exercise routines and records each user's progress.

It focuses on balance and has been described by the university as a great research tool.

Quality of life

The research is being lead by Dr Murray Griffin and Dr Matthew Taylor of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Colchester General Hospital, which will assist with the study, teaches techniques to to help people who fall often to address the problem.

'It is all about improving their quality of life and wellbeing so they have more confidence,' explained Dr Griffin.

'As many people think the Wii is fun, we are hoping more people will do the exercises.

"If compliance goes up it can have a positive effect on incidences of falling."

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