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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2006 Apr;9(2):157-62.

A treadmill and motion coupled virtual reality system for gait training post-stroke.

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Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital (CRIR), McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


A virtual reality (VR)-based locomotor training system has been developed for gait rehabilitation post-stroke. The system consists of a self-paced treadmill mounted onto a 6-degrees-of-freedom motion platform. Virtual environments (VEs) that are synchronized with the speed of the treadmill and the motions of the platform are rear-projected onto a screen in front of the walking subject. A feasibility study was conducted to test the capability of two stroke patients and one healthy control to be trained with the system. Three VE scenarios (corridor walking, street crossing, and park stroll) were woven into a gait-training program that provided three levels of complexity (walking speed, slopes, collision avoidances), progression criteria (number of successful trials) and knowledge of results. Results show that, with practice, patients can effectively increase their gait speed as demanded by the task and adapt their gait with respect to the change in physical terrain. However, successful completion of tasks requiring adaptation to increasing demands related to speed and physical terrains does not necessarily predict the patient's ability to anticipate and avoid collision with obstacles during walking. This feasibility study demonstrates that persons with stroke are able to adapt to this novel VR system and be immersed in the VEs for gait training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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