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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 26 (2013), Issue 3, Pages 183-185
http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/BEN-2012-129006

Using Virtual Reality to Rehabilitate Neglect

A. Sedda,1 N. A. Borghese,2 M. Ronchetti,2 R. Mainetti,2 F. Pasotti,1,3 G. Beretta,4 and G. Bottini1,3

1Humanistic Studies Department, Psychology Section, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
2AIS Lab, Computer Science Department, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
3Cognitive Neuropsychology Center, Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy
4Neurorehabilitation and Rehabilitative Medecine, Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy

Received 21 May 2012; Accepted 21 May 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Purpose: Virtual Reality (VR) platforms gained a lot of attention in the rehabilitation field due to their ability to engage patients and the opportunity they offer to use real world scenarios. As neglect is characterized by an impairment in exploring space that greatly affects daily living, VR could be a powerful tool compared to classical paper and pencil tasks and computer training. Nevertheless, available platforms are costly and obstructive. Here we describe a low cost platform for neglect rehabilitation, that using consumer equipments allows the patient to train at home in an intensive fashion.

Method: We tested the platform on IB, a chronic neglect patient, who did not benefit from classical rehabilitation.

Results: Our results show that IB improved both in terms of neglect and attention. Importantly, these ameliorations lasted at a follow up evaluation 5 months after the last treatment session and generalized to everyday life activities.

Conclusions: VR platforms built using equipment technology and following theoretical principles on brain functioning may induce greater ameliorations in visuo-spatial deficits than classical paradigms possibly thanks to the real world scenarios in association with the “visual feedback” of the patient’s own body operating in the virtual environment.