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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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Improving cognitive function after brain injury: The use of exercise and virtual reality

Grealy, M A and Johnson, D A and Rushton, S K (1999) Improving cognitive function after brain injury: The use of exercise and virtual reality. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 80 (6). pp. 661-667. ISSN 0003-9993

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Abstract

Objective: To assess the impact of exercise and virtual reality (VR) on the cognitive rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design: Before-after trial assessed cognitive function after a 4-week intervention program. A random allocation crossover assessed changes in reaction and movement times after a single bout of VR exercise and a no-exercise control condition. Setting: Brain injury rehabilitation unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Patients: (1) Four-week intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable TBI adults were compared to control populations (n > 25) of previous TBI patients of similar age, severity, and time postinjury. (2) Single-bout intervention: a consecutive sample of 13 suitable adults with moderate TBI, 6.29 to 202.86 weeks postinjury. Intervention: Nonimmersive VR exercise. Main Outcome Measures: (1) Tests of attention, information processing, learning, and memory. (2) Reaction and movement times. Results: After the 4-week intervention patients performed significantly better than controls on the digit symbol (p <.01), verbal (p <.01), and visual learning tasks (p <.05). Significant improvements in reaction times (p <.01) and movement times (p <.05) were gained following a single bout of VR exercise. Conclusion: Exercising in a virtual environment offers the potential for significant gains in cognitive function. (C) 1999 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.