Virtual reality, augmented reality, and other games may provide remote cognitive rehab — Concussion Alliance
By Ian Scott
A review article published in the Frontiers of Neurology investigated the potential of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), serious games (SG’s), and telerehabilitation techniques to facilitate cognitive rehabilitation therapy. Elisa Mantovani et al. found these techniques to be highly engaging when performed at home by study participants. Their review article focused on studies looking at patients requiring cognitive rehabilitation who cannot meet face-to-face due to constraints which may include but are not limited to COVID restrictions, mobility limitations, or limited access to care in their region.
Virtual reality (VR), where a user can “interact with a computer-generated environment in a naturalistic way,” was found to be effective at providing immediate feedback and personalization, which helps adjust the therapy’s level of difficulty to the patient’s needs.
Augmented reality (AR) therapy, which involves inserting virtual elements into a physical environment (like Pokémon Go), significantly improved the ecological validity of treatments for phobias. Serious games (SG’s), or interactive computer applications created for educational purposes, can have immersive environments that span from reality or are 3D-modeled by a computer. SG’s and AR are more cost-effective than VR because they do not require as advanced technology as VR but lack the level of customization that VR has to alleviate specific symptoms.
Finally, telerehabilitation techniques were proven to be as good, if not better, than in-person rehabilitation regarding participation and autonomy in daily routine.
However, there is only preliminary evidence to support that these techniques are practical, and many of the studies reviewed had small sample sizes and no control groups. Despite this, these virtual cognitive therapy techniques have the potential to revolutionize the path to recovery for patients who have sustained a TBI.
To find out more about cognitive rehabilitation for concussions, please visit our page on Cognitive Rehabilitation.
This content was originally published here.