Tuesday , January 19 2021

Parkinson's disease: virtual reality improves equilibrium in six weeks

On Parkinson It is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects the movement. At the moment there is no cure, those who suffer are gradually losing control of their body. Therefore, an investigation by the University of Utah (United States of America) concentrates its efforts on the motor aspect.

Thus, the involved scientists developed based virtual reality training system so that patients can practice resettlement. According to the institution, the first tests have already shown good results: in just six weeks of exercise, the researchers noted an improvement in the balance of users. In addition, they noted progress to avoid obstacles, which allowed them greater confidence in the movements.

This is the proposed virtual environment. (Photo: Capture / University of Utah)
This is the proposed virtual environment. (Photo: Capture / University of Utah)

The system consists of a tape and a virtual environment. Patients must go to the device (held by the belt) and avoid various virtual items that appear in front of them. If they succeed in the first round, they move to the second round where objects are magnified in size. These exercises try to help them control muscle and balance.

"The main advantage is that can find many obstacles in a safe environment. In this sense, the participants enjoyed the experience and emphasized that it was more than a physical exercise, it was a fun activity where they could resist without fear of falling, "said K. Bo Forman, project director.

Ten patients with Parkinson's disease participated in these first tests. The sessions were 30 minutes, three times a week, six weeks. "We hope our development will help people to reduce their falls in their everyday lives." Parkinson's disease is progressive, so all we can do to influence her progress is a step in the right direction, "the scientists conclude.

Now the working team is trying to include the development at the Rehabilitation Center at the University Hospital in Utah, as well as redesign the device to perform helmet exercises -This will improve the ability to use the product-. Finally, they will compare the results obtained with people who have done traditional training programs or did not participate in them.

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