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VR Therapies for Stroke Rehabilitation Exhibit Early Signs of Success

According to study findings published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, the use of virtual reality (VR) treatments for the rehabilitation of stroke patients has shown potential in some cases.


The researchers performed a comprehensive review, along with a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to compare the efficacy of different kinds of VR treatments. These include forms of technology such as non-immersive virtual reality (NIVR) and immersive virtual reality (IVR), aside from conventional therapy (CT) methods for improving the wellbeing of stroke victims.

VR technology may be classified as immersive or non-immersive in nature. IVR simulates a user’s actual surroundings and substitutes them with a synthetic and digitally generated fictitious environment. Users of NIVR primarily interact with virtual objects that are presented in two or three dimension environments. These can be directly controlled directly by the use of a normal workstation using a conventional keyboard and a mouse.

The following were the eligibility criteria for the papers included in the meta-analysis, a randomised controlled trial, individuals over the age of 18 with neurologic disease, an evaluation of computer-mediated treatment methods vs CT, and assessment of upper or lower limb motor skills, and evaluation of postural stability. In May 2020, the entirety of the systematic search was launched. Based on the number of things that got a negative assessment from the two review writers, all of the papers chosen were classed as low risk, moderate risk, or high risk for bias.

The present review consists of a total of 22 RCTs. According to Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) standards for an RCT, two studies had a high bias risk, seventeen had a moderate potential for bias, and three had a low risk of bias.

Seven of the RCTs had a sample size of over 40 respondents, whilst the six had a sample size of fewer than 25 individuals. In the bulk of the studies included in the research, the average patient age ranged from 29 to 75 years, with the majority of the participants being fairly inexperienced.

Altogether, three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) showed that IVR enhanced upper limb function, movement, and daily living activities in a manner equivalent to CT. An aggregate of 18 RCTs found that NIVR had comparable advantages to CT in terms of upper limb movement, function, balance, and mobility. When several types of VR were evaluated, it was shown that IVR is much more useful than NIVR for upper limb rehabilitation and ADL. Yet, no data was published addressing the long-term efficacy of the IVR treatment modality.

One of the study’s drawbacks was the significant heterogeneity of the dataset, which made it impossible to do a meta-analysis of findings for several of the developmental outcomes. In addition, there was a wide range of variability among the VR training situations.


After the study’s conclusion, researchers indicated that bigger trials, with power estimates indicating more than 25 individuals per group, should be conducted in the future.

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