Who said recovering from lung cancer surgery can't be a little fun? Michigan State University College of Nursing researcher Amy Hoffman has found a promising new way to help lung cancer patients reduce fatigue and get more exercise during their transition back home: Nintendo Wii.
"I always said I wouldn't have video games in my house," Hoffman says, "but when my son fell and broke his arm and had orthopedic surgery, my doctor said, 'Get him a video game.'"
Not only did Hoffman witness the Nintendo Wii help her son's recovery, but she also experienced the fun first hand when a group of colleagues got together to play a bowling game on the system.
"We know that exercise is the most effective way to treat fatigue," Hoffman says, "After playing I thought, 'You know, this might work.'"
Hoffman was able to find out with a $379,741 grant from the National Cancer Institute. Hoffman organized a pilot study that incorporated the use of the Nintendo Wii-Fit Plus to promote light-intensity, self-paced walking and balance exercise to address cancer-related fatigue. The gaming system allowed patients exercise at home without the barriers of travel or weather.
"The Wii has many different options on it, so it provides for some diversity," Hoffman says. "Some people like snowboarding and some like soccer, but it's all very light activity, and something they feel good about doing."
With positive results from the pilot study, Hoffman will now conduct a larger study. She hopes the new treatment will not only help the patients recover, but also begin a pattern of exercise that will continue their entire lives.
This story originally appeared in Capital Gains on July 25, 2012.