Posts Tagged virtual reality

[ARTICLE] Virtual reality experiences, embodiment, videogames and their dimensions in neurorehabilitation – Full Text

Abstract

Background

In the context of stroke rehabilitation, new training approaches mediated by virtual reality and videogames are usually discussed and evaluated together in reviews and meta-analyses. This represents a serious confounding factor that is leading to misleading, inconclusive outcomes in the interest of validating these new solutions.

Main body

Extending existing definitions of virtual reality, in this paper I put forward the concept of virtual reality experience (VRE), generated by virtual reality systems (VRS; i.e. a group of variable technologies employed to create a VRE). Then, I review the main components composing a VRE, and how they may purposely affect the mind and body of participants in the context of neurorehabilitation. In turn, VRS are not anymore exclusive from VREs but are currently used in videogames and other human-computer interaction applications in different domains. Often, these other applications receive the name of virtual reality applications as they use VRS. However, they do not necessarily create a VRE. I put emphasis on exposing fundamental similarities and differences between VREs and videogames for neurorehabilitation. I also recommend describing and evaluating the specific features encompassing the intervention rather than evaluating virtual reality or videogames as a whole.

Conclusion

This disambiguation between VREs, VRS and videogames should help reduce confusion in the field. This is important for databases searches when looking for specific studies or building metareviews that aim at evaluating the efficacy of technology-mediated interventions.

Background

In the context of stroke rehabilitation, new training approaches mediated by virtual reality and videogames are usually discussed and evaluated together in reviews and meta-analyses for upper limb [], and balance and gait []. Certainly, the expected superiority of virtual reality over conventional therapy post stroke has been questioned when using off-the-shelf (e.g., Nintendo Wii) or ad-hoc videogames. This conclusion, however, is based on the wrong assumption that videogames deliver same experiences than virtual reality applications. In my opinion, this represents a serious confounding factor that may lead to misleading, inconclusive outcomes in the interest of validating these new solutions. Indeed, in Laver’s Cochrane article, a positive effect for virtual reality versus conventional therapy for improving upper limb function post stroke is found only when dedicated virtual reality based interventions, i.e. specifically designed for rehabilitation settings, are used. The effect vanishes when standard off-the-shelf videogames are considered. Indeed, the use of Nintendo Wii (but referring to it as virtual reality) often leads to a non-inferiority clinical outcome, being as effective as conventional therapy [] or alternative playful interventions such as playing cards []. In another study with mobile-based and dedicated games (again referred to as virtual reality), partial functional and motor improvements were observed as compared to standard occupational therapy [].

This heterogeneity in the reported virtual reality and videogames studies for neurorehabilitation calls for use of appropriate labelling for the approaches and variables assessed. A correct identification of the specific factors (and their weight) contributing to any eventual change post treatment are required for interpreting those changes and building further evidence on the specific solution. Therefore, in this paper I propose to reframe the traditional interpretation of the term virtual reality. I advocate disentangling two conceptual components that may help the field standardize its use: virtual reality experience (VRE) and virtual reality systems (VRS). I put emphasis on exposing fundamental similarities and differences between VREs and videogames, often mistakenly used as synonyms or exchangeable terms despite the different underlying interventional techniques and brain mechanisms they can enable. I then use neurorehabilitation as exemplary application field to discuss the implications of differentiating between them.[…]

 

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[Abstract] Home-based upper extremity stroke therapy using a multi-user virtual reality environment: a randomized trial

Abstract

Objective

To compare participation and subjective experience of participants in both home-based multi-user VR therapy and home-based single-user VR therapy.

Design

Crossover, randomized trial

Setting

Initial training and evaluations occurred in a rehabilitation hospital; the interventions took place in participants’ homes

Participants

Stroke survivors with chronic upper extremity impairment (n=20)

Interventions

4 weeks of in-home treatment using a custom, multi-user virtual reality system (VERGE): two weeks of both multi-user (MU) and single-user (SU) versions of VERGE. The order of presentation of SU and MU versions was randomized such that participants were divided into two groups, first multi-user (FMU) and first single-user (FSU).

Main Outcome Measures

We measured arm displacement during each session (meters) as the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures include: time participants spent using each MU and SU VERGE, and Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) scores. Fugl-Meyer Upper-Extremity (FMUE) score and compliance with prescribed training were also evaluated. Measures were recorded before, midway, and after the treatment. Activity and movement were measured during each training session.

Results

Arm displacement during a session was significantly affected the mode of therapy (MU: 414.6m, SU: 327.0m, p=0.019). Compliance was very high (99% compliance for MU mode and 89% for SU mode). Within a given session, participants spent significantly more time training in the MU mode than in the SU mode (p=0.04). FMUE score improved significantly across all participants (Δ3.2, p=0.001).

Conclusions

Multi-user VR exercises may provide an effective means of extending clinical therapy into the home.

via Home-based upper extremity stroke therapy using a multi-user virtual reality environment: a randomized trial – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[Abstract] The influence of virtual reality on rehabilitation of upper limbs and gait after stroke: a systematic review – Full Text PDF

Abstract

Stroke is the leading cause of functional disability in adults. Its neurovascular origin and injury location indicates the possible functional consequences. Virtual rehabilitation (VR) using patient’s motion control is a new technological tool for conventional rehabilitation, allowing patterns of movements in varied environments, involving the patient in therapy through the playful components offered by VR applications. The objective of this systematic review is to collect data regarding the influence promoted by VR in upper limb and hemiparetic gait. Full articles published between 2009 and 2015 in english were searched and selected in PubMed, Cochrane and Pedro databases. Eleven articles included (5 for VR and upper limbs; 4 for VR, gait and balance; and 2 for VR and neural mechanisms). The articles included demonstrate efficacy in VR treatment in hemiparetic patients in the variables analyzed.

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via The influence of virtual reality on rehabilitation of upper limbs and gait after stroke: a systematic review | Journal of Innovation and Healthcare Management

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[Abstract] A Preliminary Study of Dual-Task Training Using Virtual Reality: Influence on Walking and Balance in Chronic Poststroke Survivors

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the Western world, and leads to impaired balance and mobility.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the feasibility of using a Virtual Reality-based dual task of an upper extremity while treadmill walking, to improve gait and functional balance performance of chronic poststroke survivors.

METHODS:

Twenty-two individuals chronic poststroke participated in the study, and were divided into 2 groups (each group performing an 8-session exercise program): 11 participated in dual-task walking (DTW), and the other 11 participated in single-task treadmill walking (TMW). The study was a randomized controlled trial, with assessors blinded to the participants’ allocated group. Measurements were conducted at pretest, post-test, and follow-up. Outcome measures included: the 10-m walking test (10 mW), Timed Up and Go (TUG), the Functional Reach Test (FRT), the Lateral Reach Test Left/Right (LRT-L/R); the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, and the Berg Balance Scale(BBS).

RESULTS:

Improvements were observed in balance variables: BBS, FRT, LRT-L/R, (P < .01) favoring the DTW group; in gait variables: 10 mW time, also favoring the DTW group (P < .05); and the ABC scale (P < .01). No changes for interaction were observed in the TUG.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study demonstrate the potential of VR-based DTW to improve walking and balance in people after stroke; thus, it is suggested to combine training sessions that require the performance of multiple tasks at the same time.

 

via A Preliminary Study of Dual-Task Training Using Virtual Reality: Influence on Walking and Balance in Chronic Poststroke Survivors. – PubMed – NCBI

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[Editorial] Virtual reality in stroke rehabilitation: virtual results or real values?

1Laboratory for the Study of Mind and Action in Rehabilitation Technologies, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.

Seven Capital Devices for the Future of Stroke Rehabilitation was the title of a review published seven years ago by our group, in which we analyzed the most promising technologies for neurorehabilitation1. They were: robots, virtual reality, brain computer interfaces, wearable devices for human movement analysis, noninvasive brain stimulators (such as transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation), neuroprostheses, and computers/tablets for electronic clinical records and planning1.

Seven years later, we can now take stock of the situation. We must be honest: on one hand, we can surely affirm that the above-proposed technologies have really been the most developed and applied in these last years, but on the other hand, we should say that questions about their efficacy are still open, as reported by Cochrane reviews highlighting the need of further studies2,3.

However, every month, new studies claiming the efficacy of technological rehabilitation are published, and this continuously-growing amount of literature reveals the lack of definitive proof; otherwise all these studies would have been unnecessary. This “efficacy paradox” could potentially give us many more years of research without any conclusive results, especially because the more technology is adaptable to the needs of the patients (as clinicians want), the less the protocol to test the efficacy of that technology is standardizable (as researchers want)4.

Furthermore, the pressure on researchers to publish, the optimism about the use of technologies of some clinicians, the hopes of patients and their caregivers about new miraculous approaches, and the commercial interests of technology companies, may lead to some misleading claims in the mass media. For example, in many scientific and journalistic papers, some electromechanical devices without any intelligence on board are improperly called “robots”, nonimmersive video games are called “virtual reality”, the expressions “mind power” or “force of thought” are associated with brain computer interfaces1. Market analysts expect that the greatest developing field for robots in the next five years will be rehabilitation, compared with other fields5. Conversely, computers, the Internet and smartphones have changed our lives and were not directly developed for rehabilitation, but this clinical field may benefit from all the developed know-how. Virtual reality should be differentiated by video games, referring to a high-end user-computer interface involving real-time stimulation based on the three “I’s”: immersive experience, interaction, and imagination6.

In this scenario, the recent study by Ogun and colleagues clearly shows all the potentials of using a Leap Motion controller interfaced with 3D immersive virtual reality to improve the upper extremity functions in patients with ischemic stroke7. The Leap Motion controller is an optical tracking system including three infrared light emitters and two infrared cameras for tracking hand and finger kinematics, interfacing them with a virtual environment developed as a human-computer interface. In 2014, our group published the first feasibility pilot study proposing the use of Leap Motion in neurorehabilitation, noting its advantageous features: it is precise, markerless, low-cost, small, and easy to use8.

Ogun and colleagues have confirmed our intuition: they found that virtual reality rehabilitation guided by a Leap Motion controller appeared to be effective in improving upper extremity function and self-care skills (but not functional independence), more than conventional therapy, in a wide sample of patients7.

Many studies have reported that the sense of presence, of body ownership and agency elicited by virtual reality are similar to those in the real environment, and daily life activities have been replicated in virtual environments for training patients. But what is the real value of virtual reality in rehabilitation if it is just a replication of a real environment? Virtual reality can also elicit amusement, arousal and valence, even more than in the real environment, as happens in virtual reality-based video games. Amusement can improve participation, arousal can improve brain activities, valence can improve learning9. It seems to be time for a generation of amusing and immersive virtual reality for improving real outcomes in neurorehabilitation.

REFERENCES

1. Iosa M, Morone G, Fusco A, Bragoni M, Coiro P, Multari M, et al. Seven capital devices for the future of stroke rehabilitation. Stroke Res Treat. 2012;2012:187965. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/187965 [ Links ]

2. Mehrholz J, Pohl M, Platz T, Kugler J, Elsner B. Electromechanical and robot-assisted arm training for improving activities of daily living, arm function, and arm muscle strength after stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Sep;9:CD006876. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD006876.pub5 [ Links ]

3. Laver KE, Lange B, George S, Deutsch JE, Saposnik G, Crotty M. Virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Nov;11:CD008349. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008349.pub4 [ Links ]

4. Iosa M, Morone G, Cherubini A, Paolucci S. The Three laws of neurorobotics: a review on what neurorehabilitation robots should do for patients and clinicians. J Med Biol Eng. 2016;36(1):1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40846-016-0115-2 [ Links ]

5. Ugalmugale S, Mupid S. Healthcare assistive robot market size by product. City: Global Market Insights, 2017. [ Links ]

6. Burdea GC, Coiffet P. Virtual reality technology. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2003. [ Links ]

7. Ögün1 MN, Kurul R, Yaşar MF, Turkoglu SA, Avcı S, Yildiz N. Effect of leap motion-based 3D immersive virtual reality usage on upper extremity function in ischemic stroke patients. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2019;77(10):681-88. https://doi.org/10.1590/0004-282X20190129 [ Links ]

8. Iosa M, Morone G, Fusco A, Castagnoli M, Fusco FR, Pratesi L, et al. Leap motion controlled videogame-based therapy for rehabilitation of elderly patients with subacute stroke: a feasibility pilot study. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2015 Aug;22(4):306–16. https://doi.org/10.1179/1074935714Z.0000000036 [ Links ]

9. Tieri G, Morone G, Paolucci S, Iosa M. Virtual reality in cognitive and motor rehabilitation: facts, fiction and fallacies. Expert Rev Med Devices. 2018 Feb;15(2):107–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/17434440.2018.1425613 [ Links ]

 

via Virtual reality in stroke rehabilitation: virtual results or real values?

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[ARTICLE] Effects of virtual reality-based planar motion exercises on upper extremity function, range of motion, and health-related quality of life: a multicenter, single-blinded, randomized, controlled pilot study – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Virtual reality (VR)-based rehabilitation is considered a beneficial therapeutic option for stroke rehabilitation. This pilot study assessed the clinical feasibility of a newly developed VR-based planar motion exercise apparatus (Rapael Smart Board™ [SB]; Neofect Inc., Yong-in, Korea) for the upper extremities as an intervention and assessment tool.

Methods

This single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial included 26 stroke survivors. Patients were randomized to the intervention group (SB group) or control (CON) group. During one session, patients in the SB group completed 30 min of intervention using the SB and an additional 30 min of standard occupational therapy; however, those in the CON group completed the same amount of conventional occupational therapy. The primary outcome was the change in the Fugl–Meyer assessment (FMA) score, and the secondary outcomes were changes in the Wolf motor function test (WMFT) score, active range of motion (AROM) of the proximal upper extremities, modified Barthel index (MBI), and Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) score. A within-group analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, and a between-group analysis was performed using a repeated measures analysis of covariance. Additionally, correlations between SB assessment data and clinical scale scores were analyzed by repeated measures correlation. Assessments were performed three times (baseline, immediately after intervention, and 1 month after intervention).

Results

All functional outcome measures (FMA, WMFT, and MBI) showed significant improvements (p < 0.05) in the SB and CON groups. AROM showed greater improvements in the SB group, especially regarding shoulder abduction and internal rotation. There was a significant effect of time × group interactions for the SIS overall score (p = 0.038). Some parameters of the SB assessment, such as the explored area ratio, mean reaching distance, and smoothness, were significantly associated with clinical upper limb functional measurements with moderate correlation coefficients.

Conclusions

The SB was available for improving upper limb function and health-related quality of life and useful for assessing upper limb ability in stroke survivors.

Background

Virtual reality (VR)-based rehabilitation is being increasingly used for post-stroke rehabilitation []. A recent systematic review mentioned that VR is an emerging treatment option for upper limb rehabilitation among stroke patients []. The benefits of VR include real-time feedback, easy adaptability, and the provision of safe environments that mimic the real world []. The gaming property of VR allows patients to experience fun, active participation, positive emotions, and engagement []. Therefore, rehabilitation with VR enables more intense and repetitive training, which is important for rehabilitation and the promotion of neural plasticity [].

VR systems commonly used in the entertainment industry, such as Wii and Kinect, could be used for rehabilitation. However, these game-like systems are only applicable to patients with muscle strength above a certain value, thus limiting their use by more affected patients. Therefore, adjunct therapies, such as functional electrical stimulation and robotics, have been combined with these systems []. However, those adjunct therapies are costly and require continuous monitoring by healthcare professionals because of safety concerns []. Therefore, their use is restricted to clinical settings, and they are not actively used for telerehabilitation or home-based rehabilitation. A non-motorized or non-assisted device is required for more active use of VR for rehabilitation.

We developed the Rapael Smart Board™ (SB; Neofect Inc., Yong-in, Korea), which is a VR-based rehabilitation device incorporating planar motion exercise that does not require additional gravity compensation. This two-dimensional planar movement with full gravitational support, which lessens the need for antigravity muscle facilitation, allows for much easier participation than three-dimensional movement under gravity. Additionally, it is known to be safe and easy to learn, and it has been shown to improve motor ability with less aggravation of shoulder pain and spasticity; therefore, it is useful to patients with reduced motor ability []. Planar motion exercises provoke less maladaptive compensatory movements. Additionally, the nearly zero friction of the linear guides enable a wide range of repetitive active range of motion (AROM) exercises. Furthermore, the SB adopted Rapael Clinic software that was originally developed for patients with disabilities and has proven efficacy for stroke rehabilitation []. Therefore, the SB, which has multiple advantages because of its hardware and software, might be beneficial for the functional improvement of the upper extremities. Moreover, the SB could have a role as an assessment tool because VR has been reported to be useful for objective kinematic measurements of the upper extremities [].

The present pilot study aimed to assess the availability of this newly developed VR-based rehabilitation device incorporating planar exercises for the upper extremities as an intervention and assessment tool among stroke patients in the chronic phase of recovery. To assess the availability in terms of clinical effectiveness, we compared the effects of an intervention involving the SB and that involving dose-matched occupational therapy (OT) on upper extremity function and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We also investigated the correlations between kinematic data from the SB and data from clinical scales regarding upper extremity function.

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Continue —>  Effects of virtual reality-based planar motion exercises on upper extremity function, range of motion, and health-related quality of life: a multicenter, single-blinded, randomized, controlled pilot study | SpringerLink

Fig. 1Hardware of the Smart Board. The board and forearm-supported controller. Three linear guides with an H-shape configuration enable two-dimensional planar motion of the handlebar, which is attached to the horizontal linear guide

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[Abstract] A game changer: the use of digital technologies in the management of upper limb rehabilitation – BOOK

Abstract

Hemiparesis is a symptom of residual weakness in half of the body, including the upper extremity, which affects the majority of post stroke survivors. Upper limb function is essential for daily life and reduction in movements can lead to tremendous decline in quality of life and independence. Current treatments, such as physiotherapy, aim to improve motor functions, however due to increasing NHS pressure, growing recognition on mental health, and close scrutiny on disease spending there is an urgent need for new approaches to be developed rapidly and sufficient resources devoted to stroke disease. Fortunately, a range of digital technologies has led to revived rehabilitation techniques in captivating and stimulating environments. To gain further insight, a meta-analysis literature search was carried out using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method. Articles were categorized and pooled into the following groups; pro/anti/neutral for the use of digital technology. Additionally, most literature is rationalised by quantitative and qualitative findings. Findings displayed, the majority of the inclusive literature is supportive of the use of digital technologies in the rehabilitation of upper extremity following stroke. Overall, the review highlights a wide understanding and promise directed into introducing devices into a clinical setting. Analysis of all four categories; (1) Digital Technology, (2) Virtual Reality, (3) Robotics and (4) Leap Motion displayed varying qualities both—pro and negative across each device. Prevailing developments on use of these technologies highlights an evolutionary and revolutionary step into utilizing digital technologies for rehabilitation purposes due to the vast functional gains and engagement levels experienced by patients. The influx of more commercialised and accessible devices could alter stroke recovery further with initial recommendations for combination therapy utilizing conventional and digital resources.

via A game changer: the use of digital technologies in the management of upper limb rehabilitation – Enlighten: Publications

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[ARTICLE] Neurocognitive Driving Rehabilitation in Virtual Environments (NeuroDRIVE): A pilot clinical trial for chronic traumatic brain injury – Full Text

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Virtual reality (VR) technology may provide an effective means to integrate cognitive and functional approaches to TBI rehabilitation. However, little is known about the effectiveness of VR rehabilitation for TBI-related cognitive deficits. In response to these clinical and research gaps, we developed Neurocognitive Driving Rehabilitation in Virtual Environments (NeuroDRIVE), an intervention designed to improve cognitive performance, driving safety, and neurobehavioral symptoms.

OBJECTIVE:

This pilot clinical trial was conducted to examine feasibility and preliminary efficacy of NeuroDRIVE for rehabilitation of chronic TBI.

METHODS:

Eleven participants who received the intervention were compared to six wait-listed participants on driving abilities, cognitive performance, and neurobehavioral symptoms.

RESULTS:

The NeuroDRIVE intervention was associated with significant improvements in working memory and visual search/selective attention— two cognitive skills that represented a primary focus of the intervention. By comparison, no significant changes were observed in untrained cognitive areas, neurobehavioral symptoms, or driving skills.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest that immersive virtual environments can provide a valuable and engaging means to achieve some cognitive rehabilitation goals, particularly when these goals are closely matched to the VR training exercises. However, additional research is needed to augment our understanding of rehabilitation for driving skills, cognitive performance, and neurobehavioral symptoms in chronic TBI.

1. Introduction

Each year, emergency departments treat approximately 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) (). TBI can affect a wide range of brain systems, resulting in sensorimotor deficits (e.g., coordination, visual perception), cognitive deficits (e.g., memory, attention), emotional dysregulation (e.g., irritability, depression), and somatic symptoms (e.g., headache, fatigue) (). These TBI-related impairments can have significant life consequences. Studies conducted across a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions show that neuropsychological abilities are strongly associated with functional skills and employment outcomes (). For example, challenges in attention and concentration could result in distractibility and errors in work settings, and deficits in executive functions could lead to poor organization and problems with setting and achieving occupational goals. As many as 3.2–5.3 million people in the US are living with TBI-related disability ().

Rehabilitation has been shown to improve outcomes for those experiencing chronic effects of TBI (). Previously-validated rehabilitation approaches for TBI include both ‘cognitive’ and ‘functional’ approaches. ‘Cognitive’ methods of rehabilitation are focused on improving performance on individual cognitive tasks, with the hope that these gains will generalize to functional activities (). Restorative cognitive training approaches have been shown to improve cognitive functioning across multiple conditions such as schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, and normal aging (). Some of the most promising results to date have been demonstrated for training of attention and working memory, which have been shown to correspond to changes in functional brain activity (). Evidence suggests that the format of therapist-guided rehabilitation is able to harness some of the well-established benefits of the therapeutic relationship, and may be preferable to computer-guided training (). While there is some evidence indicating that benefits of cognitive remediation extend to untrained tasks, a number of studies have shown that improvements in performance on individual cognitive tasks tend to generalize very weakly, if at all, to other cognitive tasks and functional abilities (). This weak transfer of training might be attributable to low levels of correspondence between the cognitive and sensorimotor demands of rehabilitation tasks and those encountered during challenging real-world situations.

In contrast to methods of rehabilitation that rely upon generalization of cognitive benefits to functional outcomes, ‘functional’ methods of rehabilitation focus on improving performance on real-life activities through direct practice of those activities (). This approach requires effective targeting of specific functional tasks that are relevant to each patient and may be limited by the physical environments available within the treatment setting (e.g., a simulated home environment used to practice activities of daily living). However, the basic functional tasks that are often emphasized in functional rehabilitation (e.g., self-care, food preparation) may not be sufficiently challenging to address more subtle or ‘higher order’ cognitive and functional deficits that many mild to moderate TBI patients experience in the long-term phase of recovery ().

Virtual reality (VR) technology may provide an effective means to integrate cognitive and functional approaches to TBI rehabilitation (). The guiding concept for VR rehabilitation is to provide an immersive, engaging, and realistic environment in which to practice cognitive, sensorimotor, and functional skills. VR scenarios can simulate a wide range of real or imagined tasks and environments. While VR may not be necessary for tasks that are easily recreated in existing therapy environments, it is particularly well-suited for tasks that are challenging or dangerous to recreate within real-world treatment environments, such as driving an automobile ().

Driving is one of the most universal, cognitively challenging, and potentially-dangerous activities of everyday life. Safe driving requires continuous synchronization of processes like reaction time, visuo-spatial skills, attention, executive function, and planning (). Whereas it would be obviously unsafe to place an impaired patient into many real-world driving situations, VR allows for safe assessment and rehabilitation of driving-relevant skills at the true limits of the individual’s current capabilities. Individuals with TBI are at elevated risk for motor vehicle accidents and other driving difficulties (). Many individuals with severe TBI never return to driving (), and an estimated 63% of those with severe TBI who do return to driving are involved in motor vehicle accidents (). Available evidence suggests that deficits in attention and visual search may underlie these driving impairments. While most of this research has been conducted with moderate-to-severe TBI populations, these issues are not exclusive to severe forms of TBI. Individuals recovering from mild TBI have also been found to exhibit slower detection of driving hazards in simulated driving experiments () and to be at increased risk for real-world motor vehicle accidents ().

Previous results suggest that VR driving rehabilitation can be effective for improving driving skills among those with moderate-to-severe TBI (). However, these findings have not been replicated or validated for those with symptomatic mild TBI. Additionally, little is known about the effectiveness of VR rehabilitation programs for TBI-related cognitive deficits (). In response to these clinical and research gaps, we developed an intervention known as Neurocognitive Driving Rehabilitation in Virtual Environments (NeuroDRIVE), which was designed to improve cognitive performance and overall driving safety by providing integrated training in these skills. In contrast to intervention approaches that are geared toward more severely impaired individuals, NeuroDRIVE was designed for use with a wide range of TBI patients (i.e., mild, moderate, or severe TBI) who are seeking treatment in these areas and have the capability to engage in the driving process. This pilot clinical trial examined feasibility and preliminary efficacy of NeuroDRIVE for improving VR driving performance, cognitive performance, and symptom outcomes among those with chronic TBI. Given the focus of the intervention, effects on attention and working memory were of particular interest. Additionally, we have provided the NeuroDRIVE treatment manual as a supplementary document to facilitate continued development of VR rehabilitation for those with TBI.

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Continue —-> Neurocognitive Driving Rehabilitation in Virtual Environments (NeuroDRIVE): A pilot clinical trial for chronic traumatic brain injury

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Fig.2
T3 VR Driving Simulator.

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[ARTICLE] Barriers, Facilitators and Interventions to Support Virtual Reality Implementation in Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review – Full Text

Abstract

Virtual reality and active video games (VR/AVGs) are promising rehabilitation tools because of their potential to facilitate abundant, motivating, and feedback-rich practice. However, clinical adoption remains low despite a growing evidence base and the recent development of clinically accessible and rehabilitation-specific VR/AVG systems. Given clinicians’ eagerness for resources to support VR/AVG use, a critical need exists for knowledge translation (KT) interventions to facilitate VR/AVG integration into clinical practice. KT interventions have the potential to support adoption by targeting known barriers to, and facilitators of, change. This scoping review of the VR/AVG literature uses the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to (1) structure an overview of known barriers and facilitators to clinical uptake of VR/AVGs for rehabilitation; (2) identify KT strategies to target these factors to facilitate adoption; and (3) report the results of these strategies. Barriers/facilitators and evaluated or proposed KT interventions spanned all but 1 and 2 TDF domains, respectively. Most frequently cited barriers/facilitators were found in the TDF domains of Knowledge, Skills, Beliefs About Capabilities, Beliefs About Consequences, Intentions, Goals, Environmental Context and Resources, and Social Influences. Few studies empirically evaluated KT interventions to support adoption; measured change in VR/AVG use did not accompany improvements in self-reported skills, attitudes, and knowledge. Recommendations to target frequently identified barriers include technology development to meet end-user needs more effectively, competency development for end-users, and facilitated VR/AVG implementation in clinical settings. Subsequent research can address knowledge gaps in both clinical and VR/AVG implementation research, including on KT intervention effectiveness and unexamined TDF domain barriers.

Introduction

Virtual reality and active video games (VR/AVG) are promising rehabilitation tools because of their potential to facilitate abundant, motivating, and feedback-rich practice [,]. A steady increase in the number of peer-reviewed articles evaluating the effects of VR/AVG interventions in many rehabilitation populations has been observed over the past 20 years. This increase reflects a growing interest in VR/AVG from the rehabilitation research and development sectors. Ideally, newly developed and empirically evaluated products and interventions that are found to be safe and effective would be quickly integrated into clinical practice. Yet what we are observing in patient care follows a more typical pattern for the adoption of evidence-based treatment techniques or tools: one of slow and variable progress [].

Collaboration between engineers and product end-users can inform the development of useful VR/AVG technologies that meet the needs of clients and therapists. Moving VR/AVG technology into the hands of therapists allows clients to benefit from its therapeutic potential. Systematically examining the factors that impact VR/AVG adoption in rehabilitation, and the effect of knowledge translation (KT) strategies on behaviors related to their use, is critical for guiding the successful implementation of these technologies. A clear understanding of how VR/AVG is being used by clinicians, the limitations clinicians face in integrating the technologies into their daily treatment routines, and the most effective strategies for supporting clinicians in technology adoption are paramount to informing these implementation approaches.

Recent surveys of occupational and physical therapists in Canada [], the United States (Levac et al., in preparation), and Scotland [] on their use of VR/AVG and their learning needs related to future use of these technologies provides a foundational knowledge base about current clinical use. Nearly half of the 1071 respondents in Canada [] and 76% of the 491 U.S. respondents (Levac et al., in preparation) had used VR/AVG clinically. However, only 12% of respondents in Canada [], 31% in the United States (Levac et al., in preparation), and 18% of the 112 respondents in Scotland [] reported current use. This discrepancy indicates the need for additional efforts to identify and to address existing barriers to VR/AVG use. Commercially available AVG systems were the most common systems in use in all 3 countries [,] (Levac et al., in preparation); the use of rehabilitation-specific VR systems by Canadian [] and U.S. therapists (Levac et al., in preparation) was much lower (<3% of respondents for any given system).

Despite low reported daily use, VR/AVG systems were perceived by therapists to be widely relevant to rehabilitation for a number of different client populations, functional recovery goals and practice settings []. Sixty-one percent of respondents in Scotland reported that they would use gaming if it were available to them []. The majority of respondents in both Canada [] (76.3%) and the United States (69.9%) (Levac et al., in preparation) reported low self-efficacy in using VR/AVG clinically, but were interested in learning more. Commonly reported learning needs included knowledge and skills in selecting appropriate systems and games for individual clients, grading activities, evaluating outcomes, and integrating theoretical approaches to treatment [,,]. These findings suggest a strong need for educational resources and knowledge translation (KT) supports to facilitate evidence-based technology adoption [,]. KT is the process of moving evidence into practice []. KT interventions have the potential to support adoption by targeting known barriers to change, including a lack of knowledge and skills [].

Strong insights into the factors influencing therapists’ adoption of VR/AVG have emerged only in the past 5 years. A decomposed Theory of Planned Behavior, which integrates constructs from the Technology Adoption Model and the Diffusion of Innovation theory forms the theoretical basis for the majority of this research [,]. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) is another approach that can be used to conceptualize the evaluation of barriers and facilitators of change, including technology adoption []. The TDF is an implementation framework that integrates 128 theoretical constructs drawn from 33 behavior change theories into 14 barrier/facilitator domains []. Although the framework has not been applied yet to this body of literature, it offers a more comprehensive approach to the identification and classification of barriers and facilitators of change than a single theory or framework alone. Drawn from the KT literature, the framework can be used to structure the assessment of barriers and facilitators of change across a range of contexts, as well as the selection of interventions to target these barriers and facilitators [].

The purpose of this scoping review was to apply the TDF to examine the extent, range, and nature of studies assessing VR/AVG barriers and facilitators and/or recommending or evaluating KT interventions to promote VR/AVG adoption in rehabilitation since 2005. Our objectives were to

  1. present an overview of factors known to limit or support VR/AVG adoption for rehabilitation;

  2. describe the KT strategies that have been recommended or evaluated to address these factors and to report on their effectiveness, where possible; and

  3. provide recommendations for technology development, research, and clinical implementation based on these findings.

[…]

Continue —>  Barriers, Facilitators and Interventions to Support Virtual Reality Implementation in Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review

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[ARTICLE] Influence of New Technologies on Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: A Comparison of Armeo Spring to the Kinect System – Full Text

Abstract

Background: New technologies to improve post-stroke rehabilitation outcomes are of great interest and have a positive impact on functional, motor, and cognitive recovery. Identifying the most effective rehabilitation intervention is a recognized priority for stroke research and provides an opportunity to achieve a more desirable effect. Objective: The objective is to verify the effect of new technologies on motor outcomes of the upper limbs, functional state, and cognitive functions in post-stroke rehabilitation. Methods: Forty two post-stroke patients (8.69 ± 4.27 weeks after stroke onset) were involved in the experimental study during inpatient rehabilitation. Patients were randomly divided into two groups: conventional programs were combined with the Armeo Spring robot-assisted trainer (Armeo group; n = 17) and the Kinect-based system (Kinect group; n = 25). The duration of sessions with the new technological devices was 45 min/day (10 sessions in total). Functional recovery was compared among groups using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and upper limbs’ motor function recovery was compared using the Fugl–Meyer Assessment Upper Extremity (FMA-UE), Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Hand grip strength (dynamometry), Hand Tapping test (HTT), Box and Block Test (BBT), and kinematic measures (active Range Of Motion (ROM)), while cognitive functions were assessed by the MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination), ACE-R (Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Revised), and HAD (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) scores. Results: Functional independence did not show meaningful differences in scores between technologies (p > 0.05), though abilities of self-care were significantly higher after Kinect-based training (p < 0.05). The upper limbs’ kinematics demonstrated higher functional recovery after robot training: decreased muscle tone, improved shoulder and elbow ROMs, hand dexterity, and grip strength (p < 0.05). Besides, virtual reality games involve more arm rotation and performing wider movements. Both new technologies caused an increase in overall global cognitive changes, but visual constructive abilities (attention, memory, visuospatial abilities, and complex commands) were statistically higher after robotic therapy. Furthermore, decreased anxiety level was observed after virtual reality therapy (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our study displays that even a short-term, two-week training program with new technologies had a positive effect and significantly recovered post-strokes functional level in self-care, upper limb motor ability (dexterity and movements, grip strength, kinematic data), visual constructive abilities (attention, memory, visuospatial abilities, and complex commands) and decreased anxiety level.

1. Introduction

Insufficient motor control compromises the ability of Stroke Patients (SP) to perform activities of daily living and will likely have a negative impact on the quality of life. Improving Upper Limb (UL) function is an important part of post-stroke rehabilitation in order to reduce disability []. Recovery in the context of motor ability may refer to the return of pre-stroke muscle activation patterns or to compensation involving the appearance of alternative muscle activation patterns that attempt to compensate for the motor function deficit []. The past decades have seen rapid development of a wide variety of assistive technologies that can be used in UL rehabilitation. These include electromyographic biofeedback, virtual reality, electromechanical and robotic devices, electrical stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, direct current stimulation, and orthoses []. Currently, two effective technologies that provide external feedback to SP during training, improve the retention of learned skills, and may be able to enhance the motor recovery are discussed [].

Virtual Reality (VR): The Microsoft TM Kinect-based system provides feedback on movement execution and/or goal attainment []. Incorporating therapy exercises into virtual games can make therapy more enjoyable and more realistic, such that task-based exercises have increased applicability in the clinical environment [,], increasing motivation and therefore adherence, which are useful for navigating this virtual environment; this has been identified as the most feasible for future implementation [].

Electromechanical and robotic devices can move passive UL along more secure movement trajectories and provide either assistance or resistance to movement of a single joint or control of inter-segmental coordination. Recent technological advances have the ability to control multiple joints accurately at the same time, enabling them to produce more realistic task-based exercises for SP []. Compared to manual therapy, robots have the potential to provide intensive rehabilitation consistently for a longer duration []. Recovery of sensorimotor function after CNS damage is based on the exploitation of neuroplasticity, with a focus on the rehabilitation of movements needed for self-independence. This requires physiological limb muscle activation, which can be achieved through functional UL movement exercises and activation of the appropriate peripheral receptors []. The Armeo Spring robot-assisted trainer device may improve UL motor function recovery as predicted by reshaping of cortical and transcallosal plasticity, according to the baseline cortical excitability []. Knowledge of the potential brain plasticity reservoir after brain damage constitutes a prerequisite for an optimal rehabilitation strategy [,]. There is evidence that robot training for the hand is superior; during post-stroke rehabilitation, hand training is likely to be the most useful [,].

Previous studies have shown that the use of systems based on VR environments, motion sensors, and robotics can improve motor function. Currently, no high-quality evidence can be found for any interventions that are currently used as part of routine practice, and evidence is insufficient to enable comparison of the relative effectiveness of interventions [,,].

The objectives of the study are to clarify in which area of functional UL recovery these new technologies are more suitable and effective and how much these interventions affect functional state and cognitive functions.

We raise the hypothesis that a robot-assisted device and virtual reality both have a positive effect on functional independence recovery in stroke-affected patients; however, having a different influence on UL motor function and cognitive changes. We assume that the robot-assisted device is more efficient and more accurately allows selecting tasks for developing specific motor function (range of motion, strength or dexterity of the affected arm), while Kinect-based games provide more free movements that are less suitable for specific motor function development and may be more targeted for cognitive functions.

 

Continue —>  Influence of New Technologies on Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: A Comparison of Armeo Spring to the Kinect System

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