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Med Sci Monit. 2019 Jun 5;25:4186-4192. doi: 10.12659/MSM.916455.

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Versus Conventional Physical Therapy for Improving Balance and Gait in Parkinson's Disease Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Heilongjiang Provincial Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China (mainland).
Administrative Departments, Heilongjiang Provincial Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China (mainland).
Department of Geriatric Neurology, Heilongjiang Provincial Hospital, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China (mainland).


BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of virtual reality (VR) technology on balance and gait in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). MATERIAL AND METHODS The study design was a single-blinded, randomized, controlled study. Twenty-eight patients with PD were randomly divided into the experimental group (n=14) and the control group (n=14). The experimental group received VR training, and the control group received conventional physical therapy. Patients performed 45 minutes per session, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. Individuals were assessed pre- and post-rehabilitation with the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT), Third Part of Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS3), and Functional Gait Assessment (FGA). RESULTS After treatment, BBS, TUGT, and FGA scores had improved significantly in both groups (P<0.05). However, there was no significant difference in the UPDRS3 between the pre- and post-rehabilitation data of the control group (P>0.05). VR training resulted in significantly better performance compared with the conventional physical therapy group (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS The results of this study indicate that 12 weeks of VR rehabilitation resulted in a greater improvement in the balance and gait of individuals with PD when compared to conventional physical therapy.

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