A team led by Penelope McNulty at Neuroscience Research Australia studied and compared rehab using a Nintendo Wii with rehab using the best-practice technique, the intimidatingly named constraint-induced movement therapy. Constraint therapy involves the patient wearing a restrictive mitt on their more functional hand, to force them to use their affected limb. It's an effective but frustrating method, which people tend to endure rather than enjoy.
In the two-week study, one group of participants played a modified Wii game for up to three hours a day, while the other wore a mitt for up to 90 per cent of their waking hours. Both groups showed considerable improvement, but the Wii group found it pleasurable, challenging and was much more inclined to continue the therapy. Improvements in cognitive and memory and mood as well, teach the brain to act more like it did before a stroke.