Can virtual reality really transform physical therapy?

Researchers have long seen the potential of virtual reality in rehabilitating patients with movement disorders. But do treatments using VR have advantages over traditional physical therapy?

By Alex Hogan, STAT August 31, 2018

Danielle Levac at Northeastern University ReGame laboratory is trying to answer that question.

“What we don’t know enough of is when you learn a skill in a virtual environment, to what extent does that actually help you get better at that skill in real life?” she said.

Levac’s work focuses on children with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders, and to measure any success, she first must come up with a baseline.

On a recent day, Levac was putting 9-year-old Mattea through a series of games developed by the lab to see how she might ordinarily expect a child to perform.

While VR won’t replace traditional physical therapy, Levac sees its promise.

“I think that these games can provide a very useful adjunct that can potentially offer some extra benefits,” she said.

While traditional physical therapy can be very boring, especially for kids, virtual environments are a way for kids to stay motivated as they do repetitive motions. ReGame-VR Lab, Northeastern University

Source STAT News

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Also see
Virtual Reality Therapy: A Look into the ReGame-VR Lab in Northeastern University
Children with Cerebral Palsy, Hemiplegia, Virtual Reality Therapy in Timocco
Virtual Reality in Children With Cerebral Palsy in NIH
Virtual Reality-based Physical Rehab May Aid Kids with CP, Study Suggests in Cerebral Palsy News Today

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