Interactive 3-dimensional virtual reality rehabilitation for patients with chronic imbalance and vestibular dysfunction

Chronic imbalance is often present in patients with vestibular dysfunction. Vestibular rehabilitation is effective in improving upright balance control. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises, such as Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises, include simple repetitive movements and have limited feedback and adaptive training protocols. Interactive systems based on virtual reality (VR) technology could improve vestibular rehabilitation.OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an interactive 3-dimensional VR system for vestibular rehabilitation. In 49 subjects with vestibular dysfunction, VR rehabilitation exercises were performed in 6 sessions. Prior to and following rehabilitation, subjects were evaluated for performance of the training exercises; the center of pressure was measured for 20 seconds and balance indices were determined. Five training scores (total 6) showed a significant improvement. For balance indices in condition of non-stimulation, all of them (total 5) showed a trend of improvement, in which there was a significant improvement in mean mediolateral. For balance indices in condition of post-stimulation, there was a significant improvement in statokinesigram and maximum mediolateral.

The study found the VR rehabilitation exercises to be effective in improving upright balance control in persons with vestibular dysfunction.

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