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Virtual Reality in cognitive rehabilitation and understanding of stroke disease

Conference paper
Authors Anna-Lena Bellner
Pär Larsson
Krister Pettersson
Olla Göransson
Magnus Fogelberg
Daniel Goude
Martin Rydmark
Jurgen Broeren
Published in Medical Informatics Europe 2008 - eHealth beyond the horizon – get IT there
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Biomedicine
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Language en
Keywords Haptics, cognitive rehabilitation, Virtual reality
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Physical and cognitive deficits are consequences of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Without rehabilitation activity problems persist, i.e. limitations to handle personal care, the work situation, and recreational activities. A new approach in the rehabilitation area is the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology and haptic devices. The aim of this study is to test an application of VR technology with 3D computer games as an occupational assessment/treatment method in rehabilitation. The training activities were virtual games that are used for training purposes. Every time an activity is run, data about the 3D hand movements of the patient is collected and analyzed, i.e. time and tremor in movements. The subject was a 48 years male patient, who in 2002 had a cranio-encephalitic trauma (CET), caused by an accident. Since 4 years he is working par time (50%). In the autumn 2007 he attended the rehabilitation program. Since then he has received two weekly sessions of 60 minutes by a special trained occupational therapist. The first weeks he was extremely tiered, tensed and unmotivated after 5-10 minutes. Cognitive deficits, motor and personality disorders were observed and assessed by using published and commonly used instruments within this knowledge field. The results revealed great problems in most observed and tested areas. After this initial period the patient accepted to take place in front of the VR-station. He was instructed to pick up the haptic stylus and start the tests. The whole procedure took 5 minutes and then he needed to relax the rest of the session. However, forthcoming sessions were breaking points, with an unexpected outcome. The patient increased his exercise potential from 5 to 40 minutes. Quantitative data revealed that the VR tasks gave a possibility to record time and to exact record the movement of the hand during the training. Qualitative data revealed that the patient’s increased motivation supported him to be active in everyday life. One outcome was an invitation from his employer to extend his working time within a computer department.After 6 months of VR-technological treatment sessions the patient improved significantly concerning cognitive and sensory-motor deficits. Thus, he is more competent to do what he wishes to do.

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