Funding agencies: The work was supported, in part, by the European Commission (FP7 projects: V-TIME- 278169 and CuPiD-288516).
Virtual reality and motor imagery: Promising tools for assessment and therapy in Parkinson's disease
Article first published online: 16 OCT 2013
© 2013 Movement Disorder Society
Special Issue: Gait and Balance in Movement Disorders
Volume 28, Issue 11, pages 1597–1608, 15 September 2013
How to Cite
Mirelman, A., Maidan, I. and Deutsch, J. E. (2013), Virtual reality and motor imagery: Promising tools for assessment and therapy in Parkinson's disease. Mov. Disord., 28: 1597–1608. doi: 10.1002/mds.25670
Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.
Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.
- Issue published online: 16 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 16 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 6 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 20 MAR 2013
- virtual reality;
- motor imagery;
- Parkinson's disease
Motor imagery (MI) and virtual reality (VR) are two evolving therapeutic approaches that make use of cognitive function to study and enhance movement, in particular, balance and mobility of people with Parkinson's disease (PD). This review examines the literature on the use of VR and MI in the assessment of mobility and as a therapeutic intervention to improve balance and gait in patients with PD. A study was eligible for inclusion if MI or VR were used to assess motor or cognitive function to improve gait, balance, or mobility in patients with PD. Data were extracted on the following categories: participants; study design; intervention (type, duration, and frequency); and outcomes. Intervention studies were evaluated for quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Sixteen studies were identified; 4 articles used MI and 12 used VR for assessment and treatment of gait impairments in PD. The studies included small samples and were diverse in terms of methodology. Quality of the intervention trials varied from fair for VR to good for MI. The benefits of using MI and VR for assessment and treatment were noted. Encouraging findings on the potential benefits of using MI and VR in PD were found, although further good-quality research is still needed. Questions remain on the optimal use, content of interventions, and generalizability of findings across the different stages of the disease. The possible mechanisms underlying MI and VR and recommendations for future research and therapy are also presented. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society