The Impact of a Novel Immersive Virtual Reality Technology Associated with Serious Games in Parkinson’s Disease Patients on Upper Limb Rehabilitation: A Mixed Methods Intervention Study.

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Abstract

Background: Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes impaired motor functions. Virtual reality technology may be recommended to optimize motor learning in a safe environment. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the e ects of a novel immersive virtual reality technology used for serious games (Oculus Rift 2 plus leap motion controller—OR2-LMC) for upper limb outcomes (muscle strength, coordination, speed of movements, fine and gross dexterity). Another objective was to obtain qualitative data for participants’ experiences related to the intervention. Methods: A mixed methods intervention (embedded) study was used, with a qualitative design after a technology intervention (quantitative design). The intervention and qualitative design followed international guidelines and were integrated into the method and reporting subheadings. Results: Significant improvements were observed in strength (p = 0.028), fine (p = 0.026 to 0.028) and gross coordination dexterity, and speed movements (p = 0.039) in the a ected side, with excellent compliance (100%) and a high level of satisfaction (3.66 0.18 points out of the maximum of 4). No adverse side e ects were observed. Qualitative findings described patients’ perspectives regarding OR2-LMC treatment, facilitators and barriers for adherence, OR2-LMC applications, and treatment improvements. Conclusions: The intervention showed positive results for the upper limbs, with elements of discordance, expansion, and confirmation between qualitative and quantitative results.

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Parkinson’s disease, biomedical technology, biomedical enhancement, neurological rehabilitation, mixed methods research

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