There is a new use for virtual reality. Patients with weakened limbs can use it to train their weakened limbs. They will believe that their limbs are more accurate than they are. Spanish researchers found that if a patient thinks, that his limb is more effective, there are higher chances that he will use it in the reality. Stroke patients avoid using their limbs, which makes them even weaker.
The study included 20 patients. All of them were stroke victims. Scientist increased the accuracy and the speed of their limbs, but without the patient’s knowledge. According to Belen Rubio, a researcher, patients then used their limb more and more.
Mrs Rubio, from the Laboratory of Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems, said that only 10 minutes were enough for the patients to start using their limbs more. This treatment, can be used to help stroke patients. They will believe that their weakened limb is functioning better so they will use it more. The more they actually use it, they will make progress.
20 people in this study, had a 35% chance to use their weakened limb (paretic) in order to reach something in front of them. After the enhancement, their chances were increased to 50% (same as for a healthy person). Professor Paul Verschure said that this treatment can be used every day, in order to help stroke patients.
The main goal of the physical rehabilitation is to help rewire the brain in the stroke victims. This study proved that virtual reality can be used even more in the future. Of course, further research and development is required.