Improving cognitive function after brain injury: The use of exercise and virtual reality

Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.57). 07/1999; 80(6):661-7. DOI: 10.1016/S0003-9993(99)90169-7
Source: PubMed


To assess the impact of exercise and virtual reality (VR) on the cognitive rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Before-after trial assessed cognitive function after a 4-week intervention program. A random allocation crossover assessed changes in reaction and movement times after a single bout of VR exercise and a no-exercise control condition.
Brain injury rehabilitation unit in Edinburgh, Scotland.
(1) Four-week intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable TBI adults were compared to control populations (n > 25) of previous TBI patients of similar age, severity, and time postinjury. (2) Single-bout intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable adults with moderate TBI, 6.29 to 202.86 weeks postinjury.
Nonimmersive VR exercise.
(1) Tests of attention, information processing, learning, and memory. (2) Reaction and movement times.
After the 4-week intervention patients performed significantly better than controls on the digit symbol (p < .01). verbal (p < .01), and visual learning tasks (p < .05). Significant improvements in reaction times (p < .01) and movement times (p < .05) were gained following a single bout of VR exercise.
Exercising in a virtual environment offers the potential for significant gains in cognitive function.

1 Follower
32 Reads
    • "large single cage that included meaningful species-specific social interaction and behaviors. Fourteen manipulative objects or toys were routinely rearranged every day and changed twice a week in the enriched housing (Grealy et al., 1999; Hicks et al., 2007; Sozda et al., 2010). Food and water was provided ad libitum and animals were kept on a 12:12 h reversed day:night cycle. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An injury to the forelimb sensorimotor cortex results in the impairment of motor function in animals. Recent research has suggested that intranasal administration of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein naturally found in the brain, and placement into enriched environments (EE) improves motor and cognitive function after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of this study was to determine whether NGF, EE, or the combination of both was beneficial in the recovery of motor function following TBI. Uninjured animals had fewer foot faults than injured animals, displaying a lesion effect. Injured animals housed in EE were shown to have fewer foot faults whether or not they received NGF. Injured animals also displayed an increased reliance on the non-impaired limb further validating a lesion effect. EE is an effective treatment on the recovery of motor function after a TBI. Intranasal administration of NGF was found to not be an effective treatment for functional motor recovery after a TBI. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Brain research bulletin 04/2015; 115. DOI:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.04.003 · 2.72 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "trials with 2049 adults, increases in AF have been found to predict improvements in executive functioning, processing speed, attention, and declarative memory, with marginal support for working memory (Smith et al., 2010). Additionally, improvements in AF have been found to counteract age-related memory decline (Colcombe and Kramer, 2003; Kramer et al., 1999), delay onset of neurodegenerative diseases (Adlard et al., 2005; Kaspar et al., 2005), as well as enhance recovery from brain injury (Gobbo and O'Mara, 2005; Grealy et al., 1999). Altogether, these findings provide strong support for the link between AF and neurocognition. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous reports indicate that among healthy individuals low aerobic fitness (AF) and high body-mass index (BMI) predict poor neurocognition and daily-functioning. It is unknown whether these associations extend to disorders characterized by poor neurocognition, such as schizophrenia. Therefore, we compared AF and BMI in individuals with schizophrenia and non-clinical controls, and then within the schizophrenia group we examined the links between AF, BMI, neurocognition and daily-functioning. Thirty-two individuals with schizophrenia and 64 gender- and age-matched controls completed assessments of AF (indexed by VO2max) and BMI. The former also completed measures of neurocognition, daily-functioning and physical activity. The schizophrenia group displayed significantly lower AF and higher BMI. In the schizophrenia group, AF was significantly correlated with overall neurocognition (r=0.57), along with executive functioning, working memory, social cognition, and processing speed. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated that AF accounted for 22% of the neurocognition variance. Furthermore, AF was significantly correlated with overall daily-functioning (r=0.46). In contrast, BMI displayed significant inverse correlations with neurocognition, but no associations to daily-functioning. AF was significantly correlated physical activity. The authors discuss the potential use of AF-enhancing interventions to improve neurocognitive and daily-functioning in schizophrenia, along with putative neurobiological mechanisms underlying these links, including Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.
    Psychiatry Research 12/2014; 220(3):784-791. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.08.052 · 2.47 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Brain event related potential measures, commonly used as indicators of decision-making components of executive function activity, have also been shown to improve after a single bout of exercise in healthy younger adults [30] [32]. Reports of longer duration aerobic programs have also shown improvements in the brain's resting state functional efficiency in healthy individuals [17], improvements in verbal learning, visual learning and processing speed in those with mild to moderate TBI [33], and in memory and executive function in those with depression [34]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognition and motor performance are essential components of human functioning. Recent research has provided evidence that these two domains are more interrelated than previously thought. This is a potentially important area of research with many questions that warrant further exploration and have practical implications to the field of neurological rehabilitation. In this review of literature we included animals and humans in healthy conditions as well as pathological conditions affecting the central nervous system. Our primary goal was to comprehensively review the relevant basic science and clinical literature on the effects of motor interventions on cognitive function and vice versa. We found more evidence supporting positive effects of exercise on cognition than effects of cognitive training on motor function. In addition, we examined the extent to which findings from animal literature have been or can be translated to humans. We found that, with the exception of one study in monkeys, most animal studies which investigate rodents are somewhat challenging to translate to human studies, independent of the intervention employed. It is difficult to find a human parallel to exercise in rodents, because both the voluntary and forced exercise paradigms used in rodents happen in a different context than humans. In addition it is difficult to find an animal parallel to cognitive training in humans, because the environmental enrichment intervention cannot be considered “purely” cognitive stimulation as it also involves sensory, motor and social components. We conclude the review by suggesting avenues for future research and intervention strategies.
    12/2014; 5(4). DOI:10.2478/s13380-014-0233-7
Show more