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Virtual reality therapy for limb rehabilitation after stroke

Tue 17 Mar 2020

A meta-analysis of research into the use of virtual reality (VR) therapy for upper limb rehabilitation after stroke has found VR to be useful and promising method.


Stroke is a major cause of life-long disability in adults, associated with poor quality of life. Virtual reality (VR)-based therapy systems are known to be helpful in improving motor functions following stroke, but recent clinical findings have not been included in the previous publications of meta-analysis studies.


This meta-analysis was based on the available literature to evaluate the therapeutic potential of VR as compared to dose-matched conventional therapies (CT) in patients with stroke.


We retrieved relevant articles in EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Web of Science published between 2010 and February 2019. Peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials that compared VR with CT were included.


A total of 27 studies met the inclusion criteria. The analysis indicated that the VR group showed statistically significant improvement in the recovery of UL function (Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity [FM-UE]: n = 20 studies, Mean Difference [MD] = 3.84, P = .01), activity (Box and Block Test [BBT]: n = 13, MD = 3.82, P = .04), and participation (Motor Activity Log [MAL]: n = 6, MD = 0.8, P = .0001) versus the control group.


VR appears to be a promising therapeutic technology for UL motor rehabilitation in patients with stroke.


Mekbib, D.B., Han, J., Zhang, L., Fang, S., Jiang, H., Zhu, J., Roe, A.W., et al (2020). Virtual reality therapy for upper limb rehabilitation in patients with stroke: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Brain injury, 34(4).


Many thanks to Dr Dongrong Xu and Dr Anna W. Roe for their kind permission to share this research abstract.


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