Poster

CORDially BALANCEd? Use of virtual reality in neurorehabilitation of balance after traumatic spinal cord injury: a literature review

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Abstract

Recovery of balance is a very important element of rehabilitation after a traumatic SCI. It is closely related to the improvement in functional motor recovery. VR training activates the mirror-neuron system, prefrontal cortex (PFC), parietal cortical areas, and other motor cortical networks leading to reorganization of neurons in the cerebral cortex that in turn improves balance, spatial orientation capacity and motion. A few studies suggest a role of VR in increasing oxygenation in the PFC of the brain. Many VR systems have been utilized effectively for restoration of balance in SCI patients. VR can be successfully used in ecologically valid home based training settings. This will greatly reduce patient’s transportation cost and effort. Additionally, it allows monitoring of patient activity outside the clinical environment.

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Article
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Article
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Objective: To determine whether there is any difference between virtual reality game-based balance training and realworld task-specific balance training in improving sitting balance and functional performance in individuals with paraplegia. Methods: The study was a pre test-post test experimental design. There were 30 participants (28 males, 2 females) with traumatic spinal cord injury randomly assigned to 2 groups (group A and B). The levels of spinal injury of the participants were between T6 and T12. The virtual reality game-based balance training and real-world task-specific balance training were used as interventions in groups A and B, respectively. The total duration of the intervention was 4 weeks, with a frequency of 5 times a week; each training session lasted 45 minutes. The outcome measures were modified Functional Reach Test (mFRT), t-shirt test, and the self-care component of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure-III (SCIM-III). Results: There was a significant difference for time (p = .001) and Time x Group effect (p = .001) in mFRT scores, group effect (p = .05) in t-shirt test scores, and time effect (p = .001) in the self-care component of SCIM-III. Conclusions: Virtual reality game-based training is better in improving balance and functional performance in individuals with paraplegia than real-world task-specific balance training.