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Virtual Reality Recovery
13 September 2015

Virtual Reality Recovery

You might think that virtual reality computer gaming systems are just for fun, but researchers have discovered that they could play a useful role in enabling stroke patients to regain the use of paralysed limbs. When a stroke damages the left side of someone's brain, they can lose movement in the right side of their body, or vice versa, and it's an important part of rehabilitation to try and get the paralysed side moving again. Using a modified gaming system, patients are able to control a 'virtual body' using the movement of their paralysed arm. And by carrying out tasks in the virtual world, they start to strengthen the connection between their own body and brain in real life, building vital confidence in their physical abilities. After just ten minutes of training, patients were using their paralysed limb more often, suggesting that this game-based approach could have serious benefits.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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