Neurocognitive Rehabilitation Using Virtual Reality

2019-07-17 10:04:59 | BioPortfolio


Objective: To determine whether immersive virtual reality (VR) treatment interventions improve executive dysfunction and complex attention deficits in patients with brain injury compared with standard neurorehabilitation, and whether VR performance predicts neurorehabilitation outcomes at discharge.

Design: Mixed design study with quasi-experimental Intervention group (N = 12) and retrospective Control group (N = 12). Both groups were compromised of individuals with brain injury admitted to an outpatient day neurorehabilitation program.


The current study focuses on repeated practice of a VR-based cognitive intervention with the intent of improving cognitive deficits known to impact ability to resume complex activities. This study details implementation of VR within a neurorehabilitation setting. Associations between the VR Stroop and neuropsychological, speech therapy, and global rehabilitation measures are examined. The investigators include a brain injured control group to address this frequently cited methodological concern.

Inclusion Criteria Patients participating in this study were aged 18 years and older diagnosed with acquired traumatic or non-traumatic neurologic illness, and with dysfunction in executive and attention skills documented during their inpatient rehabilitation course.

Patients that had not yet undergone a neuropsychological evaluation by the time they consented to participate in the study, were administered the Orientation and Cognitive Log (OLOG/Cog-Log) to ensure they were oriented and had sufficient cognitive ability to attend to and understand instructions.

Exclusion Criteria Patients were excluded from participating in the study if they were medically unstable, as deemed by their primary doctor, were aphasic or had hemispatial neglect, had prior history of significant neurological complications or developmental delay resulting in compromised cognition, prisoners, and if they did not speak English.

Participants ABI Patients Twenty-one patients with ABI participated in this pilot study (Figure 1): 9 diagnosed with stroke (43%), 6 with TBI (29%), 2 with anoxic injury (10%), 3 with brain tumor (14%), and 1 with amyloid angiopathy (5%). Six of the 21 patients partially completed the study, but failed to complete all 8 intervention sessions. Two patients were medically withdrawn from Day Neuro due to refractory medical complications, two patients self-discharged from the program against medical advice, and two patients' rehabilitation regimens were concluded prior to their projected discharge dates when insurance or state-assisted benefits were not extended. Of the remaining 15 participants, 12 completed neuropsychological evaluation. The final analyses included 12 patients with ABI who completed VR treatment and all neuropsychological and rehabilitation outcome measures, and 12 Controls with ABI (see Figure 1).

Control Group The 12 Controls were age- and gender-matched (and etiology when possible) patients who had previously received traditional neurorehabilitation and completed the same measures as the VR group prior to onset of the study, but they did not receive VR treatment. Their data was obtained via retrospective chart review of patients admitted to Day Neuro between 04/2013 and 07/2014.

Intervention Schedule Patients completed the VR apartment program twice per week for a 4-week period (8 sessions total). The VR interventions replaced 30-60 minutes of speech therapy and/or 30-60 minutes of independent time (time designated for relaxation or completion of therapy assignments) per week of the study. Otherwise, clinical services were not altered (see Appendix 1 for detailed schedule of VR and Day Neuro therapy regimen).

The total duration of sessions 1 and 8 was approximately 60 minutes each. The duration of sessions 2-7 was 30 minutes each.

Study Design


Acquired Brain Injury


Virtual Reality Cognitive Training




Baylor Research Institute

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-07-17T10:04:59-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Treatment technique in a virtual environment which allows the participant to experience a sense of presence in an immersive, computer-generated, three-dimensional, interactive environment that minimizes avoidance behavior and facilitates emotional involvement. (from Curr Psychiatry Rep (2010) 12:298)

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Using computer technology to create and maintain an environment and project a user's physical presence in that environment allowing the user to interact with it.

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A controlled learning environment that closely represents reality.

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