EFFECTIVENESS OF IMMERSIVE VIRTUAL REALITY REHABILITATION PROGRAM TO REDUCE SYMPTOMS SEVERITY AND IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE IN PATIENTS WITH FUNCTIONAL MOTOR DISORDERS

Starting date
November 5, 2020
Duration (months)
24
Departments
Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences
Managers or local contacts
Gandolfi Marialuisa , Tinazzi Michele

Functional motor disorders (FMDs) are a wide spectrum of functional neurological disorders, which refers to abnormal movements like dystonia, tremor, gait/balance disorders. These patients experience high degrees of disability and distress equivalent to those suffering from degenerative neuro-logical diseases. Two features are peculiar to FMDs: they are altered by distraction or non-physiologically maneuvers and clinically incongruent with motor disorders caused by organic diseases. Ab-normal attentional focus, beliefs/expectations, and sense of agency are the main pathophysiological features of the disease. Although rehabilitation is important in the management of FMDs, there is no a strong evidence about its effects as reported by the only one randomized controlled trial (RCT). The main reason is that these approaches are mainly based on empirical backgrounds (clinical practice) and less on the three key features of the disorder. RCTs on the effects of pathophysiological grounded rehabilitative interventions are needed. Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful tool that may address simultaneously on attention, beliefs/expectations, and the sense of agency. Literature on the VR rehabilitation supports its effectiveness in improving motor and cognitive functions in patients with neurological diseases. To date, no studies have been performed in patients with FMDs. This is a three-stage study to: (1) implement specific immersive VR protocols with distractors for patients with FMDs; (2) evaluate the “on-line” effects of these VR protocols on symptom severity and postural control and gait using posturography and the gait analysis in a convenience sample of 10 controls and 10 patients with FMDs. Finally, (3) perform a RCT to demonstrate the effectiveness and superiority of a 5-day immersive VR-rehabilitation treatment versus 5-day of conventional rehabilitation treatment in reducing FMDs symptom severity and improving patients’ quality of life.

Sponsors:

Khymeia S.r.l.
Funds: assigned and managed by the department
Syllabus: JOINT PROJECTS

Project participants

Marialuisa Gandolfi
Associate Professor
Michele Tinazzi
Full Professor

Collaboratori esterni

Maria Luisa Bullo
Khymeia S.r.l.
Marco Pirini
Khymeia S.r.l.
Denis Vidale
Khymeia S.r.l.

Activities

Research facilities