Feasibility of virtual therapy in rehabilitation of Parkinson’s disease patients: pilot study

Ana Paula Cunha Loureiro, Cristiane Gonçalves Ribas, Talita Gianello Gnoato Zotz, Rebeca Chen, Flávia Ribas


Introduction: Among Parkinson’s disease (PD) motor disabilities, postural and balance alterations are important parameters to physical therapists who need to choose specific, targeted therapies for their patients. Among many therapy options, virtual therapy is studied as to whether it can be a viable rehabilitation method. Objective: To verify the applicability of virtual rehabilitation in PD patients for the improvement of their balance and quality of life. Material and methods: Six volunteers, diagnosed to be in Stages II and III of PD (Hoehn and Yahr Scale), were recruited for this study. Patients (65 ± 13 years old) participated in activities involving Wii Fit, for a total of twelve interventions, twice per week. Clinical and qualitative methods were used for the data collection for the initial and final evaluations: Borg’s Scale, Berg Functional Balance Scale, Time Up and Go, anterior and lateral functional reach and Nottingham’s Scale were performed during the study. Penguin Slide, Ski Slalom, Soccer Heading and Table Tilt were the Wii games selected as a form of virtual therapy. Results: The collected data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon test. Motor skill, functional capacities and quality of life were analyzed as variables of the patients’ balance. Statistically significant differences were found in the following tests: Borg’s Scale (p = 0.0464), Berg Functional Balance Scale (p = 0.0277), lateral functional reach to the right (p = 0.0431*) and lateral functional reach to the left (p = 0.0277). Conclusion: It is believed that exercises with virtual reality therapy can be a useful tool to improve the balance in PD patients.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-51502012000300021


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