Virtual Reality for Upper Limb Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Jun 3, 2022
  • participants needed
    24
  • sponsor
    University of Cagliari
Updated on 23 January 2021

Summary

This study is aimed to test the efficacy and feasibility of an immersive virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation programs to improve upper-limb motor functions in 24 patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), characterized by moderate to severe upper-limb motor dysfunctions. In particular, this study will evaluate the efficacy of VR as novel opportunities to increase treatment engagement and rehabilitation effects.

The effectiveness of the rehabilitation program will be assessed using both clinical tests and state-of-the art motion capture system for human movement analysis.

Description

Recent studies highlighted the high social and economic burden of rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis (MS); in fact its cost is approximately 27% of the overall expenses supported by the national health system. In particular, it has been shown that the physical rehabilitation is effective in treating functional impairments associated to gait, balance and daily life activitites. However, most rehabilitative treatments are performed at hospital or in specialized centers, and this is a factor which strongly reduces the persistence of the positive effects in the long-term.

In this context, it appears important to highlight that rehabilitative treatments are often focused on lower limbs functional impairments, while upper limbs dysfunctions seem less considered although approximately 50% of pwMS complain about issues like reduction of manual dexterity and fine motor abilities as well as movements' slowness. Moreover, significantly lower is also the number of the studies focused on upper limbs rehabilitation, if compared to those about walking or balance and also if compared with upper limbs studies in other neurologic diseases like stroke.

A support in overcoming such issues might be provided by the adoption of low-cost devices originally designed for entertainment purposes (e.g. Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect) which have been shown effective in improving some aspects of disability. Nevertheless, while rehabilitation protocols which make use of such system often relies on software designed for healthy individuals, it should be essential to have available routines specifically designed for the MS needs.

On the basis of these considerations, this project intends to design, develop and test an innovative low-cost hardware/software platform for home-based upper limbs rehabilitation based on virtual reality.

In particular, the software will reproduce scenarios of actual daily living activities with increasing complexity to ensure a good degree of transferability of the training into real life.

The strength of this approach lies basically on three factors:

  1. Use of commercial low-cost VR systems (e.g. Oculus Rift)
  2. Use of public domain software for the Virtual Reality package (i.e. Unity 3D)
  3. Availability of kinematic data derived from the analysis of the hand trajectories, which allow clinicians to characterize the performance of the participants as well as his/her progresses The effectiveness of the platform will be tested in laboratory using state-of-the-art motion capture system for human movement analysis.

Details
Condition Multiple Sclerosis, Radiologically Isolated Syndrome, Dermatite Atopique modérée ou grave, multiple sclerosis (ms)
Treatment Virtual Reality
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04027491
SponsorUniversity of Cagliari
Last Modified on23 January 2021

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age > 18
Definite MS diagnosis, sub-type Relapsing-Remitting or Secondary Progressive
Clinically stable
No relapses at the time of the enrolment in the study
Able to understand the informed consent process and provide consent to participate in the study
-Hole Peg Test score > 30 seconds

Exclusion Criteria

Relapses occurring over the past 3 months
History of seizures
Severe blurred vision
Concomitant auditory and vestibular deficits
Presence of other neurological, orthopaedic (non-MS related), psychiatric or cognitive impairments that would interfere with the execution of the study
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