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The development of a Virtual reality software application to assess and treat visuospatial neglect in centralneurological conditions.

After stroke, people can experience several impairments. Besides sensorimotor impairments, stroke often have to deal with cognitive disorders including disorientation in time and space, decreased information processing time and volume, memory problems and attentional deficits. One of these post-stroke attentional deficits is visuospatial neglect (VSN) characterized by impaired awareness for visual stimuli located on the contralesional side of space. People with VSN experience significant postural impairments and a high fall risk. In addition, consequences can be more practical of nature as patients with attentional deficits are, for example, unaware of the traffic lights at street crossings or even traffic in general, but also lack the ability to find products at grocery stores. It is obvious that people dealing with cognitive impairments encounter difficulties in all aspects of ADL (Activities of Daily Living) and community participation, and even lack the ability to live independently at home. Unfortunately, there is to date no adequate way of assessing VSN after neurological impairments with good clinimetric properties such as high ecological validity, reliability and discriminating ability between different modalities of VSN. As a consequence, treatment options are sparse and especially focused on compensatoryrecovery. Moreover, with current standard pen-and-paper tasks, it is hard to quantify eye-movements in relation to head movements relevant for the interpretation of the performance of the patient whether or not the patient uses compensations. Moreover, patients cannot train independent at home with assessment and monitoring on remote (telerehabilitation). As a result, patients remain highly dependent of the spontaneous recovery of the neural system because of the small treatment effects currently seen in clinical practice. However, a huge amount of patients will have persistent VSN after rehabilitation leading to substantial loss of community participation with a high dependency on (in)formal care. This project aims to deliver a solution for the aforementioned problems by means of a virtual reality (VR) application. VR has the potential to provide a three-dimensional real-life environment increasing ecologicalvalidity of the assessment of neglect. The recent technical developments in consumer head mounted displays have made virtual reality a mature, reliable and affordable technology. This means for this application that patients will not only rely on equipment accessible at hospitals or rehabilitation centers, but they can even undergo treatment at home and at their own convenience, making telerehabilitation possible. The primary users are professional caregivers within the field of neurological rehabilitation such asneuropsychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Some patients, who can take responsibility for their own rehabilitation, can use the application independently within the care facility or at home (telerehabilitation).
Date:1 Sep 2020  →  Today
Project type:Collaboration project