Virtual reality-augmented rehabilitation for patients following stroke

Alma S. Merians, David Jack, Rares Boian, Marilyn Tremaine, Grigore C. Burdea, Sergei V. Adamovich, Michael Recce, Howard Poizner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

436 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose. Recent evidence indicates that intensive massed practice may be necessary to modify neural organization and effect recovery of motor skills in patients following stroke. Virtual reality (VR) technology has the capability of creating an interactive, motivating environment in which practice intensity and feedback can be manipulated to create individualized treatments to retrain movement. Case Description. Three patients (ML, LE, and DK), who were in the chronic phase following stroke, participated in a 2-week training program (3 1/2 hours a day) including dexterity tasks on real objects and VR exercises. The VR simulations were targeted for range of motion, movement speed, fractionation, and force production. Outcomes. ML's function was the most impaired at the beginning of the intervention, but showed improvement in the thumb and fingers in range of motion and speed of movement. LE improved in fractionation and range of motion of his thumb and fingers. DK made the greatest gains, showing improvement in range of motion and strength of the thumb, velocity of the thumb and fingers, and fractionation. Two of the 3 patients improved on the Jebsen Test of Hand Function. Discussion. The outcomes suggest that VR may be useful to augment rehabilitation of the upper limb in patients in the chronic phase following stroke. [Merians AS, Jack D, Boian R, et al. Virtual reality-augmented rehabilitation for patients following stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-915
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


  • Motor learning
  • Recovery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Virtual reality


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