An interactive sports video game as an intervention for rehabilitation of community-living patients with schizophrenia: A controlled, single-blind, crossover study
Nobuko Shimizu, Tomohiro Umemura, Masahiro Matsunaga, Takayoshi Hirai
Hypofrontality is a state of decreased cerebral blood flow in the prefrontal cortex during executive function performance; it is commonly observed in patients with schizophrenia. Cognitive dysfunction, as well as the psychological symptoms of schizophrenia, influences the ability of patients to reintegrate into society. The current study investigated the effects of an interactive sports video game (IVG; Nintendo Wii™ Sports Resort) on frontal lobe function of patients with schizophrenia. A sample of eight patients (6 male and 2 female; mean age = 46.7 years, standard deviation (SD) = 13.7) engaged in an IVG every week for 3 months in a controlled, single-blind, crossover study. Before and after the intervention we examined frontal lobe blood-flow volume using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and assessed functional changes using the Frontal Assessment Battery, Health-Related Quality of Life scale, and behaviorally-assessed physical function tests. fNIRS revealed that prefrontal activity during IVG performance significantly increased in the IVG period compared with the control period. Furthermore, significant correlations between cerebral blood flow changes in different channels were observed during IVG performance. In addition, we observed intervention-related improvement in health-related quality of life following IVG. IVG intervention was associated with increased prefrontal cortex activation and improved health-related quality of life performance in patients with schizophrenia. Patients with chronic schizophrenia are characterized by withdrawal and a lack of social responsiveness or interest in others. Interventions using IVG may provide a useful low-cost rehabilitation method for such patients, without the need for specialized equipment.