Cognitive Rehabilitation (CR) is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after a brain injury, including stroke. Two major categories of techniques, namely traditional and advanced (including virtual reality—VR), are widely used in CR for patients with various neurological disorders. More objective outcome measures are needed to better investigate cognitive recovery after a stroke. In the last ten years, the application of electroencephalography (EEG) as a non-invasive and portable neuroimaging method has been explored to extract the hallmarks of neuroplasticity induced by VR rehabilitation approaches, particularly within the chronic stroke population. The aim of this study is to investigate the neurophysiological effects of CR conducted in a virtual environment using the VRRS device. Thirty patients with moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke in the chronic phase (at least 6 months after the event), with a mean age of 58.13 (±8.33) for the experimental group and 57.33 (±11.06) for the control group, were enrolled. They were divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control group, receiving neurocognitive stimulation using VR and the same amount of conventional neurorehabilitation, respectively. To study neuroplasticity changes after the training, we focused on the power band spectra of theta, alpha, and beta EEG rhythms in both groups. We observed that when VR technology was employed to amplify the effects of treatments on cognitive recovery, significant EEG-related neural improvements were detected in the primary motor circuit in terms of power spectral density and time-frequency domains. Indeed, EEG analysis suggested that VR resulted in a significant increase in both the alpha band power in the occipital areas and the beta band power in the frontal areas, while no significant variations were observed in the theta band power. Our data suggest the potential effectiveness of a VR-based rehabilitation approach in promoting neuroplastic changes even in the chronic phase of ischemic stroke.

Effects of Virtual Reality Cognitive Training on Neuroplasticity: A Quasi-Randomized Clinical Trial in Patients with Stroke

Fabio, Rosa Angela;Quartarone, Angelo;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Cognitive Rehabilitation (CR) is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after a brain injury, including stroke. Two major categories of techniques, namely traditional and advanced (including virtual reality—VR), are widely used in CR for patients with various neurological disorders. More objective outcome measures are needed to better investigate cognitive recovery after a stroke. In the last ten years, the application of electroencephalography (EEG) as a non-invasive and portable neuroimaging method has been explored to extract the hallmarks of neuroplasticity induced by VR rehabilitation approaches, particularly within the chronic stroke population. The aim of this study is to investigate the neurophysiological effects of CR conducted in a virtual environment using the VRRS device. Thirty patients with moderate-to-severe ischemic stroke in the chronic phase (at least 6 months after the event), with a mean age of 58.13 (±8.33) for the experimental group and 57.33 (±11.06) for the control group, were enrolled. They were divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control group, receiving neurocognitive stimulation using VR and the same amount of conventional neurorehabilitation, respectively. To study neuroplasticity changes after the training, we focused on the power band spectra of theta, alpha, and beta EEG rhythms in both groups. We observed that when VR technology was employed to amplify the effects of treatments on cognitive recovery, significant EEG-related neural improvements were detected in the primary motor circuit in terms of power spectral density and time-frequency domains. Indeed, EEG analysis suggested that VR resulted in a significant increase in both the alpha band power in the occipital areas and the beta band power in the frontal areas, while no significant variations were observed in the theta band power. Our data suggest the potential effectiveness of a VR-based rehabilitation approach in promoting neuroplastic changes even in the chronic phase of ischemic stroke.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3282915
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