Marco (invented name) raises his right arm and, by moving his hand, bursts the virtual bubbles that scroll on the big screen in front of him, in the colored room that seems to have come out of a playground. Everything looks normal thus far, except that Marco is hemiplegic, with cerebral palsy which seriously affects the movements of his right arm In fact, it consists of a game applied to rehabilitation.  As well as Marco, many neurological patients can enhance motor and cognitive abilities using virtual reality, taking advantage of its playful approach.

All the technological equipment is hidden so that patients have the impression of being completely immersed in the playing area only, which is very important to stimulate their participation and motivation.

Virtual reality offers the possibility to modulate the exercises on the patient’s capabilities and monitor the performance through visual and auditory feedback. But most importantly, it boosts patients’ motivation and active participation through the gaming approach. And this is key, because everything we do is strictly linked to our level of interest in that specific task. But this is not enough, there’s always a strong emotional part that guides our actions to raise our motivation.

That’s the point: how to maintain a high level of motivation during cognitive rehabilitation to get better results?

This research explained it all by deepening the effects of virtual reality-based training using BTS-NIRVANA on functional recovery in stroke patients It’s surprising how neurological patients got significant improvements in many cognitive domains (executive and visual-spatial abilities; speech, attention, and memory abilities) after the use of virtual reality.

Here’s why: being more involved, patients put more effort into the treatment sessions, and these can last longer before the patient gets tired or loses interest.

Next developments will focus on the measurement of the major progress achieved with this technique compared to the traditional one. Right now, great effectiveness is emerging both in the aspects directly linked to treatment and positive side effects, for example in space organization.

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