ohioRecent studies suggest that the video game Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) may assist in improving balance and mobility in specific patient populations. These findings were reportedly tested by researchers based our of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who aimed to assess the game’s ability to assist in decreasing the cognitive and physical effects of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Anne Kloos, PhD, PT, NCS, associate clinical professor of health and rehabilitation sciences, Ohio State College of Medicine, explains that the video dancing game serves as a good research platform, as it addresses multiple issues that MS patients and clinicians face. “We think our data will not only help doctors and therapists make good clinical recommendations, but provide an evidence-based, in-home tool for patients that helps overcome access and cost issues associated with long-term physical therapy,” Kloos.

A news release reports that Kloos received a grant from the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) in early 2012 to fund research intended to assess the effects of DDR on mobility, brain plasticity, and cognition in individuals with MS. Researchers note that in the ongoing trial, patients are required to exercise using DDR three time a week for 8 weeks. Patients’ cognitive functions are tested at the trial’s start and end. Functional and structural magnetic resource imaging is also used to detect brain circuitry changes, researchers add.

As the game requires a great amount of cognitive processing, “Incorporating DDR into standard MS treatments has the potential to improve balance, walking, cognition, and motivation,” Nora Fitz, DPT, research team member, explains.

The release notes that Fitz has also received a supplementary grant from the CCTS to expand Kloos’ work and investigate the differences in dual tasking abilities between MS patients and healthy controls. The additional funding will also help support research into whether playing DDR will improve dual tasking abilities.

Source: The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science