Bioengineering for health; virtual reality for stroke recovery

The SPECS group, together with the physical medicine and rehabilitation department of the hospital Sant Joan de Barcelona, explain us in the news of Punt Avui television, their study in virtual reality for patients who have suffered a stroke. The study began in 2014 and is a reinforcement of the basic rehabilitation treatment. In this case, a study has been done with 18 patients and a clear improvement has been observed after two months thanks to this system.

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The system consists of a software and a camera that records movements and position, and  patients work in different scenarios and situations. Patients with motor impairments pick up objects and the virtual reality equipment records the movements. In the case of patients who have suffered from aphasia, two patients work at the same time and try to communicate with each other through two computers that stimulate them to perform different actions. Patients who have suffered from aphasia, lose communicative abilities, thanks to virtual reality, an improvement has been observed at the communicative level and in their daily lives, and they maintain the improvements in all tests after 8 weeks. Patients can play autonomously and only with the supervision of a therapist they can reach significant changes. This tool is a working complement, conventional work with the speech therapist cannot be neglected, since it is a person-to-person work and must be left as a base.

The following step to improve the system is the simplification of the working material so that the therapy can be performed everywhere. “We have virtual reality goggles and the controllers that facilitate the interaction with the virtual objects, with only this two tools the therapy can be carried out from home” adds Klaudia Grechuta, IBEC researcher at SPECS.

According to the study, to use the lenguaje with a purpose by playing games and to stimulate the motor skills are the main factors

Según el estudio, utilizar el lenguaje con un objetivo a través del juego y estimular la parte motora for the improvement and effectiveness of the treatment.