Scottish woman with multiple sclerosis 'diagnosed by Wii'

A Scottish woman living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has told how her Nintendo Wii helped to “diagnose” her with the condition.

Elaine Duffy, 55, from Rutherglen, realised “something was a bit off” when she began receiving poor scores on active games, and feedback showed her left side was becoming weaker.

Ms Duffy mentioned this at a routine doctor’s appointment and after further checks was diagnosed with MS six months later.

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“I often say that I was diagnosed by my Wii,” Ms Duffy said.

Elaine Duffy.
Elaine Duffy.

"When you play one of the games it gives you feedback and I was starting to get messages saying that my left side was getting weaker and I was getting bad scores. My reaction was to argue with it at first.“That was the first sign but it’s not something I would have gone to the doctor for, I just knew that something was a bit off.”

Ms Duffy, a retired IT support worker, was required by her employer at the time to have a medical, where she mentioned the feedback from the Wii to her GP.

“It was suggested that I’d maybe had a stroke, and that I should have a health check for that, but I knew that wasn’t right,” she said.

“Of course they didn’t find that I’d had a stroke and my GP asked if there was anything I thought it might be.

Elaine Duffy has made use of the MS Society's Wellbeing Hub during lockdown

“I’ve no idea why, because at the time I didn’t really know much about it as a condition, but I said MS and she agreed with me that it might be.”

Ms Duffy’ GP was “very supportive”, and she was referred to a neurologist and later diagnosed.

She now receives support from MS Society Scotland through the charity’s wellbeing hub, which aims to help people with MS stay physically and mentally healthy.

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Activities include yoga, ballet, Pilates, mindfulness and tai chi.

Ms Duffy said the hub has been “absolutely fantastic”, as the MS Society announced a further £57,252 in funding from the Scottish Government.

“Physio through MS Society Scotland’s Wellbeing Hub has helped my confidence massively. It’s going to be long, slow progress but things are definitely moving in the right direction,” she said.

“Since then I’ve started meditation, functional strength, ballet and Pilates. It’s been absolutely fantastic.

“For my circumstances, from June until now it’s been amazing – a real godsend.

“Things like ballet I would never have considered before, I think I would have been too embarrassed but it’s been great.

“It’s helped my mobility and wellbeing. Obviously I can’t go to the gym or swim like I would have so having these sessions has been really helpful.”

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Scotland, said: “This backing from the Scottish Government’s Neurological Care & Support Framework will make a very real difference to people’s physical and emotional health.

“Remote access to sessions has been warmly received across the country and we’re pleased to be supporting people through what has been a very difficult period.

“We’d encourage anyone who’d like to find out what’s on offer to contact our team and find out how the Wellbeing Hub can support them.”

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