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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2015, Article ID 194629, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/194629
Research Article

Visual Hallucinations as Incidental Negative Effects of Virtual Reality on Parkinson’s Disease Patients: A Link with Neurodegeneration?

1Division of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation, Ospedale San Giuseppe, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Via Cadorna 90, Piancavallo, 28824 Verbania, Italy
2Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Via Magnasco 2, 20149 Milano, Italy
3Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
4Department of Neurology, Neuroimaging and Medical Sciences, Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy
5Department of Neuroscience “Rita Levi Montalcini”, Università di Torino, Via Cherasco 15, 10126 Torino, Italy
6Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica di Milano, Largo Gemelli 1, 20123 Milano, Italy

Received 3 February 2015; Revised 10 April 2015; Accepted 17 April 2015

Academic Editor: Ivan Bodis-Wollner

Copyright © 2015 Giovanni Albani et al. 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

We followed up a series of 23 Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients who had performed an immersive virtual reality (VR) protocol eight years before. On that occasion, six patients incidentally described visual hallucinations (VH) with occurrences of images not included in the virtual environment. Curiously, in the following years, only these patients reported the appearance of VH later in their clinical history, while the rest of the group did not. Even considering the limited sample size, we may argue that VR immersive systems can induce unpleasant effects in PD patients who are predisposed to a cognitive impairment.