Virtual reality is a device for smartphone. It is usually used for playing game or watching movies in 3D. This divice make a better experience for the users. Is it true that virtual reality for stroke recovery?

To answert that question, let’s take a look to a new study out of Europe. That study suggests that virtual reality training is equally as effective as traditional physical therapy. A traditional therapy is like a therapy for those have stroke to help victims recover use of theirs arms and hands.

A Study of Virtual Reality for Stroke Recovery

In November, a study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that a basic virtual reality system can be a better therapy for certain kinds of recovery programs.

Technolgy in health is such a bright hope for every one. This technology could be used to allow people to use commercial virtual reality systems remotely, for their homes, saving time and money than having a physical therapy in hospital or a clinic.

This virtual reality for stroke recovery is different with previous training systems, in which patients might work with a therapist on a live feed or videotape.

According to Iris Brunner, author of this study, also as a professor in University of Aarhus, Denmark, “Virtual Reality is different in that you are really interacting with what you see on a screen. The patient’s movements are transferred to either virtual arms or objects on a screen and theri movements receive different kinds of feedback, which again is important for the reorganizing of the brain after stoke.”

A study that is performed by Iris involves 120 people, 62 years old in average, who had suffered a stroke about a months previous to testing. The purpose of this experiments was to help the participants recover from mild to severe muscle weakness in their wrists, hands, or upper arms. Half of the group was prescribed standar physical therapy, and the other half worked exclusively with the new Virtual Reality System.

Then The Result of The Experiment?

During the experiment, participants were monitored for four weeks, undergoing four to five hour-long training sessions per week.

Arm and hand functioning was tested at the beginning of the study, immediately after the training ended, and again three months after the start of the study.

At the end of the test, both groups had substantial improvement in their functioning. There is no difference between the two groups in the results. It means that patient could choose fit training that could be used. It depends on patient’s prefers.

Game-like Therapy

The Virtual Reality for stroke recovery here is different with a commersial virtual reality. The commercial Virtual Reality is modified as a physical therapy kit. It uses a standard television or computer monitor hooked up to a console and a set of virutal reality gloves.

The content of virtual reality here is no like a common game or something like that. The sofware of this modified virtual reality lead the patients through several excercise and games and then tracks the result using sensors with the virtual reality gloves.

This virtual reality give the patient instruction to grasp different object that come toward him or her. This game is quite simple, the therapist could choose the time between the objects, the time to grasp, and much more.

Not only that, another game is like steering a plane with a movement of the hand and fingers, with one hand or both hand.

Iris said, “The Virtual Reality system requires dedicated hardware, but the technolgy could be adapted to commercial VR rigs like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, or Sony Playstation Virtual Reality.

This virtual reality for stroke recovery could be so potentially working with more basic motion tracking systems like Microsoft Kinect.

Now thera are already some very good rehab sofware program. It could be found on the market that are used in connection with Kinect camera. However, it is still a challange to transfer fine motor movement without sensors.

The most important part of it, the sofware can be adapted to people with stroke.

Supports of This Study

This study was supported by many institution such as;

  • Norwegian Research Council
  • Regional Hospital Central Jutland Research Fund
  • Western Norway Region Health Authority
  • Norwegian Fund for Postgraduate Training in Physiotherapy
  • Danish Physiotherapists’ Research Fund.

Conclusion

So the progres of technology in health, virtual reality, for stroke patients could help doctors and health care workers reach a wider range of people in need. Besides, it also can reduce costs for stroke patients. Virtual Reality is promising health care workers. It can help encourage people to complete their prescribed physical therapy exercises at home and without going to hospital or a clinic.

Virtual Reality is like a good news for every body, it can be motivating and fun for many stroke patients. And it must be a good choice for stroke patients.