Parkinson's disease: virtual reality versus conventional physiotherapy
Parkinson's disease: virtual reality versus conventional physiotherapy- which improves balance and gait more?
A team of Chinese scientists have tried to find an answer to this particular question. 28 patients with Parkinson's disease were randomly divided between two groups. The experimental group of 14 participants received virtual reality (VR) training, whereas the control group, also containing 14 patients, received conventional physiotherapy. Participants in the trial were assessed using different specific tests before and after rehabilitation. Patients included were between 50 and 70 years of age and able to walk unassisted despite balance problems. Exclusion criteria included, amongst other things, hereditary ataxia (genetic motoricity problems), cerebellar or vestibular disorders, bone and joint diseases, visual or hearing complaints (restricted vision or hearing). Both groups continued to take their regular medication throughout the trial.
All test persons had the same physiotherapist who accompanied them over the complete twelve week course. Patients received 45 minutes of training five times a week in each case. The control group received traditional training. This embraced stretching, balance training, strength training, weight training and walking training as well as coordinative exercises with visual and auditory feedback to improve patients’ posture control. Exercises for the left and right sides of the body were conducted while walking and when stationary. The programme also included throwing and catching exercises as well as rhythm training. The experimental group were coached in balance and gait using VR technology. After the warm-up phase, for example, patients were meant to touch a virtual ball either with their hands or feet, or cross a virtual labyrinth. To close, they cooled down with a few stretching exercises.
Both groups improved, but the VR rehabilitation had a greater positive effect on balance and gait parameters among patients with Parkinson's disease than the treatment using conventional physiotherapy.
Source: Feng H, et al. 2019. Virtual reality rehabilitation versus conventional physical therapy for improving balance and gait in Parkinson’s disease patients: a randomized controlled trial. Med. Sci. Monit. 25:4186–92
Link to the abstract: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31165721
This article is based on:
Röder J. et al. 2019. Evidenz Update 9 2019. Z. f. Physiotherapeuten 71;9:91
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