Add-Life Research - Neuroplasticity
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NEUROPLASTICITY

Effects of Virtual Reality Intervention on Neural Plasticity in Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review

This study performed a systematic review on 27 studies with the aim of determining the effects of virtual reality-based rehabilitation, for survivors of stroke, on neural plasticity. The main results of the review found that VR training had 6 effects on neural plasticity.

VR training was shown to improve interhemispheric balance in 11 studies and enhanced cortical connectivity in 5 studies. VR also led to increased cortical representation mapping of the affected limb muscles in 3 studies and in 7 studies improved neural plasticity measures were correlated to enhanced behaviour outcomes. There was also evidence for activation in regions in the frontal cortex in 4 studies and 2 studies even showed the potential involvement of the mirror neuron system.

Overall, the review concluded that VR intervention does induce changes in neural plasticity for stroke patients and that there are positive correlations between these changes and the functional recovery. This points to the mechanisms by which VR intervention can induce therapeutic effects in the rehabilitation.

Hao, J., Xie, H., Harp, K., Chen, Z., & Siu, K.-C. (2021)