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Papers of the Week

2021 Feb 13

Int J Environ Res Public Health



Go Virtual to Get Real: Virtual Reality as a Resource for Spinal Cord Treatment.


Leemhuis E, Esposito R M, De Gennaro L, Pazzaglia M
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Feb 13; 18(4).
PMID: 33668438.


Increasingly, refined virtual reality (VR) techniques allow for the simultaneous and coherent stimulation of multiple sensory and motor domains. In some clinical interventions, such as those related to spinal cord injuries (SCIs), the impact of VR on people's multisensory perception, movements, attitudes, and even modulations of socio-cognitive aspects of their behavior may influence every phase of their rehabilitation treatment, from the acute to chronic stages. This work describes the potential advantages of using first-person-perspective VR to treat SCIs and its implications for manipulating sensory-motor feedback to alter body signals. By situating a patient with SCI in a virtual environment, sensorial perceptions and motor intention can be enriched into a more coherent bodily experience that also promotes processes of neural regeneration and plasticity. In addition to the great potential of research, the most significant areas of interest concern is managing neuropathic pain, motor rehabilitation, and psychological well-being.