Asociacion Parkinson, Madrid, Espana
Efficacy of virtual reality on balance and gait in multiple sclerosis. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes gait abnormalities and a deficit in balance control in the vast majority of people affected by it. Virtual reality has been proposed as a complementary approach to conventional physiotherapeutic treatment as a way of improving these variables.
To assess the real efficacy of this approach compared to other neurorehabilitation therapies, or no intervention, in MS.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was conducted. Studies of the last five years that compare virtual reality with conventional treatment or no intervention, on balance and/or gait, in adults with MS, were included. PEDro scale was used to assess methodological quality and the Oxford scale to determine the level of evidence and grades of recommendations.
Eight studies met the eligibility criteria. For balance, the efficacy of virtual reality is, at least, comparable as conventional training. For gait, virtual reality seems not to be superior in improving the speed, compared with the other types of interventions assessed. Methodological quality of studies was low-moderate.
Virtual reality is as effective as conventional training for improving balance in people with MS. No data suggests that virtual reality is superior to other interventions in improving gait speed. For other gait parameters, virtual reality's efficacy remains unknown.
Center of Advanced Technologies in Rehabilitation, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Tel HaShomer, Israel
Advanced virtual reality-based rehabilitation of balance and gait in clinical practice.
Extensive research shows that virtual reality (VR) enhances motor learning and has advantages in balance and gait rehabilitation of neurological patients. There is still uncertainty, however, as for the practicality and efficacy of VR in long-term clinical routine. The objective of this study was to report on 3 years of clinical practice conducting VR-based rehabilitation of balance and gait in a large medical center.
This retrospective study systematically analyzed clinical records of patients who received VR-based rehabilitation in a large rehabilitation center during 3 years. We evaluated the effect of VR-based rehabilitation treatments on balance and gait, cognitive dual-task load, patient's balance confidence (ABC-scale) and perception of suitability. Patients were either neurological patients, allocated to five groups: Parkinson's disease (PD), poststroke (PS), multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and 'other conditions', or non-neurological patients.
Records of 167 patients were analyzed. The availability of multiple VR systems and environments contributed to highly personalized interventions that tailored specific deficits with therapeutic goals. VR-based rehabilitation significantly improved balance and gait (measured by 10-Meter Walk Test, Timed-Up-and-Go, Berg Balance Scale, and Mini BESTest). Patients with PD and PS decreased dual-task cost while walking. Patients increased balance confidence and deemed VR suitable for rehabilitation.
Our results suggest that VR-based rehabilitation is practicable and effective in clinical routine. Functional measures of balance and gait show significant improvements following VR-based interventions. Clinical approaches should exploit VR advantages for promoting motor learning and motivation. This study serves to aid transition to long-term clinical implementation of VR.