Virtual Reality Therapy Improves Coordination in Young TBI Patients
In early October 2013 Ksenia Ustinova, PT, PhD, an associate professor of physical therapy in the School of Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, told the World Congress of Neurology about her success with virtual reality (VR) therapy with young TBI patients. Dr. Ustinova used VR therapy over a computer to teach six different exercises to patients in their homes or at a clinic. The simple Microsfot Xbox Kinect system was able to measure their movements. Each session took 55 minutes and showed how to improve coordination, sitting balance, and eye-head coordination. After 5-6 weeks the test subjects showed definite improvement in all of these areas.
The major limitation of the study was the lack of a control group to demonstrate how much of these improvements were due to the VR therapy rather than natural healing over time. Dr. Ustinova’s next step will be to do a larger study with a broader age range and an age-matched control group. However, the preliminary results are promising.