Improving cognitive function after brain injury: The use of exercise and virtual reality

M A Grealy, D A Johnson, S K Rushton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

206 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To assess the impact of exercise and virtual reality (VR) on the cognitive rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Design: Before-after trial assessed cognitive function after a 4-week intervention program. A random allocation crossover assessed changes in reaction and movement times after a single bout of VR exercise and a no-exercise control condition.

Setting: Brain injury rehabilitation unit in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Patients: (1) Four-week intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable TBI adults were compared to control populations (n > 25) of previous TBI patients of similar age, severity, and time postinjury. (2) Single-bout intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable adults with moderate TBI, 6.29 to 202.86 weeks postinjury.

Intervention: Nonimmersive VR exercise.

Main Outcome Measures: (1) Tests of attention, information processing, learning, and memory. (2) Reaction and movement times.

Results: After the 4-week intervention patients performed significantly better than controls on the digit symbol (p <.01), verbal (p <.01), and visual learning tasks (p <.05). Significant improvements in reaction times (p <.01) and movement times (p <.05) were gained following a single bout of VR exercise.

Conclusion: Exercising in a virtual environment offers the potential for significant gains in cognitive function. (C) 1999 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-667
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1999

Keywords

  • cerebral blood-flow
  • physical-activity
  • rehabilitation
  • performance
  • hippocampal
  • technology

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