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05 June 2019 : Clinical Research  

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Versus Conventional Physical Therapy for Improving Balance and Gait in Parkinson’s Disease Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Hao Feng1A, Cuiyun Li1B, Jiayu Liu1B, Liang Wang2C, Jing Ma1D, Guanglei Li1E, Lu Gan1F, Xiaoying Shang2F, Zhixuan Wu3G*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.916455

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:4186-4192


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of virtual reality (VR) technology on balance and gait in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study design was a single-blinded, randomized, controlled study. Twenty-eight patients with PD were randomly divided into the experimental group (n=14) and the control group (n=14). The experimental group received VR training, and the control group received conventional physical therapy. Patients performed 45 minutes per session, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. Individuals were assessed pre- and post-rehabilitation with the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT), Third Part of Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS3), and Functional Gait Assessment (FGA).

RESULTS: After treatment, BBS, TUGT, and FGA scores had improved significantly in both groups (P<0.05). However, there was no significant difference in the UPDRS3 between the pre- and post-rehabilitation data of the control group (P>0.05). VR training resulted in significantly better performance compared with the conventional physical therapy group (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate that 12 weeks of VR rehabilitation resulted in a greater improvement in the balance and gait of individuals with PD when compared to conventional physical therapy.

Keywords: Gait, Parkinsonian Disorders, Physical Therapy Modalities, postural balance, Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, Aged, Exercise Therapy, Levodopa, Middle Aged, Reproducibility of Results, stroke rehabilitation, Time and Motion Studies, virtual reality, Walking

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750