Virtual Environment Rehabilitation for Chronic Stroke "VEHAB"


Phase 2 Results N/A

Trial Description

More than half of individuals post-stroke have residual movement disabilities, including reduced mobility, balance, and increased risk of falling. There is a need for innovative, long-term and economically-feasible interventions for those with chronic stroke. Recently, a focus has been placed on the use of virtual reality and interactive gaming as a low cost and effective manner of treating movement disorders. Yet few studies have investigated interactive gaming platforms effect on balance following stroke. The proposed study is a randomized, single-blind, control group cross-over study for individuals with chronic stroke designed to examine an innovative therapeutic approach by investigating the effects of commercially-available gaming systems on balance, mobility and fear of falling in a sample of individuals with chronic motor deficits following stroke.

Detailed Description

Objective: To determine if playing active video games results in improved balance and motor performance.
Design: Randomized-matched, single-blind, control group cross-over study Setting: Laboratory Patients: Participants with chronic hemiparesis post-stroke were randomly assigned to a gaming group or normal activity control group.
Interventions: Gaming systems provided an interactive interface of real-time movement of either themselves or an avatar on the screen. Participants played games 1 hour/day, 4 days/week, for 5 weeks, totaling 20 hours of game-play. The intervention was strictly game-play without physical therapy. All games were played in standing position and trainers supervised to protect against loss of balance.
Measurements: Both groups were tested prior to and following the 5 weeks (post-test) and 3 months following the completion of the intervention/control. Outcome measures included: Fugl-Meyer Motor Exam, Single Leg Stance time, symmetrical weight bearing, Berg Balance Scale, Dynamic Gait Index, Timed Up and Go, Six Minute Walk, 3 Meter Walk, step length differential, and perception of recovery.



  • Commercially-Available Interactive Video Games Other
    Other Names: Gaming; Nintendo Wii; Playstation; Stroke
    Intervention Desc: Two commercially available gaming platforms were used in this study, the Nintendo Wii and the Sony PS 2. The Wii games included "Wii Sports" and "Wii Fit"; PS games included the EyeToy "Play 2" and "Kinetic". Each of these games provides multiple mini games which pose different movement challenges, including dynamic balance, speed, accuracy, general mobility, and weight shifts. Game play was performed 1 hour/day, 4 days/ week, for a period of 5 weeks, totaling 20 hours.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Immediate Treatment Group

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Safety/Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Crossover Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Balance (Berg Balance Scale) change from pre to post and change from pre to follow-up (3 months) Yes
Secondary Participant Perception Post test (5 weeks) No