Effects of virtual reality exergame on psychophysiological and postural disorders in elderly patients

Khizhnikova AE, Klochkov AS, Fuks AA, Kotov-Smolenskiy AM, Suponeva NA, Piradov MA
About authors

Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed: Anastasia E. Khizhnikova
Volokolamskoe sh., 80, Moscow, 125367, Russia; moc.liamg@lapakhsutsan

About paper

Funding: the study was supported by the Presidential Grant MK-118.2020.7.

Received: 2021-10-26 Accepted: 2021-11-24 Published online: 2021-12-09

Balance impairment at advanced age is a serious medical problem that often has significant implications and affects the quality of the patient’s life. Among the underlying causes are overall slowness of motor response and vestibular syndrome. Virtual reality exergames, including reaction and balance training, hold promise for managing balance dysfunction. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a combination rehabilitation program containing elements of virtual reality exergame on the postural and psychophysiological parameters of elderly patients with small vascular disease The study was conducted in 24 patients with small vascular disease (median age: 66 years). All patients underwent a virtual reality rehabilitation program. Psychophysiological, postural and clinical evaluations were performed at baseline and after the program was completed. Balance function measured on the Berg scale improved significantly and was 53 [52; 55] after the training program vs 50 [45; 54] at baseline (p < 0.05).  The strategy of balance control also changed: the Romberg ratio was 266 [199.5; 478.5] before rehabilitation and 221 [149.25; 404] after the program was completed (p < 0.05). The most pronounced changes in the measured psychophysiological parameters occurred in the simple audiomotor reaction, which improved from 210 [174.25; 245.5] at baseline to 180.5 [170.5; 208] after rehabilitation (p < 0.05). Thus, the combination balance and reaction virtual reality training is an effective rehabilitation method for advanced-age patients with balance impairment.

Keywords: neurorehabilitation, virtual reality, balance impairment, reaction time