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Does intervention using virtual reality improve upper limb function in children with neurological impairment: A systematic review of the evidence

By Jane Galvin, Rachael McDonald, Cathy Catroppa and Vicki Anderson

Abstract

Background: Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging area of paediatric clinical and research practice, however the majority of research to date has focused on outcomes for adults following stroke. This paper appraises and describes current evidence for use of virtual reality interventions to improve upper limb function of children with neurological impairment. Methods: A comprehensive database search was undertaken to explore literature on the use of VR systems for rehabilitation of upper limb skills of children with neurological impairment. Studies investigating the use of robotics or other mechanical devices were excluded. Five studies were found and were critiqued using the Downs and Black scale for measuring study quality. Results: One randomized control trial and four case studies were found. No study scored over 50%% on the Downs and Black scale, indicating methodological limitations that limit generalizability. Conclusions: Current evidence for the use of VR to improve hand and arm skills is at an emerging stage. Small sample sizes and inconsistencies in outcome measurement limit the ability to generalize findings. Further studies are required to investigate the ability to maintain gains made in VR over time and to determine whether gains transfer from the VR to real life tasks and activities. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Brain Injury is the property of Taylor & Francis Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.

Topics: Virtual reality, Pediatrics, Brain injury, Cerebral palsy, Rehabilitation
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.3109/02699052.2011.558047
OAI identifier: oai:vtl.cc.swin.edu.au:swin:49393
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