Researcher turning dance therapy into video game for seniors

September 29, 2016

Matthew Woolhouse is turning Parkinson's disease therapy into a game.

Woolhouse, an assistant professor in the School of the Arts, is working with Hamilton City Ballet's Dance for Parkinson's program to create a therapeutic exercise regimen that participants can do in the comfort of their own home.

To do it, he's using the motion-tracking abilities of the Microsoft Kinect, which allow users to copy actual dance movements performed by an on-screen avatar.

Read: Parkinson's patients defy the disease through dance (Hamilton Spectator)

Research has shown that purposeful movement, like dance, can help improve what's known as "brain plasticity," or the ability of the brain to create new connections between cells.

Dance therapy has been shown to improve motor skills, as well as alleviate anxiety and depression, in those with Parkinson's.