Effects of Virtual Reality vs Conventional Balance Training on Balance and Falls in People With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2020 Nov 5. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Department of Neurology, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.

Objective: To assess the efficacy of virtual reality (VR)-based vs conventional balance training on the improvement of balance and reduction of falls in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS).

Design: Single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences.

Participants: PwMS (N=39), randomized into VR (n=19) and control (n=20) groups.

Intervention: The VR group performed exergames using Kinect, while the control group accomplished conventional balance exercises. Both groups received 18 training sessions for 6 weeks.

Main Outcome Measures: Limits of stability, timed Up and Go (TUG) test, and 10-m walk tests with and without cognitive task and their dual-task costs (DTCs), Berg Balance Scale, Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale-12, Fall Efficacy Scale-International, Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, and fall history were obtained pre- and post intervention and after a 3-month follow-up.

Results: At both post intervention and follow-up, TUG and DTCs on the TUG were significantly lower and the 10-m walk was significantly higher in the VR group. At follow-up, reaction time and the number of falls demonstrated significant differences favoring the VR group, whereas the directional control revealed significant difference in favor of the control group (P<.05). The other outcomes showed no statistically significant difference at post intervention or follow-up.

Conclusions: Both the VR-based and conventional balance exercises improved balance and mobility in PwMS, while each acted better in improving certain aspects. VR-based training was more efficacious in enhancing cognitive-motor function and reducing falls, whereas conventional exercises led to better directional control. Further studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of recruiting VR-based exercises in clinical settings.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2020.09.395DOI Listing
November 2020

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