A Preliminary Study of Dual-Task Training Using Virtual Reality: Influence on Walking and Balance in Chronic Poststroke Survivors

Pavel Fishbein, Yeshayahu Hutzler, Motti Ratmansky, Iuly Treger, Ayelet Dunsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the Western world, and leads to impaired balance and mobility. Objective: To investigate the feasibility of using a Virtual Reality-based dual task of an upper extremity while treadmill walking, to improve gait and functional balance performance of chronic poststroke survivors. Methods: Twenty-two individuals chronic poststroke participated in the study, and were divided into 2 groups (each group performing an 8-session exercise program): 11 participated in dual-task walking (DTW), and the other 11 participated in single-task treadmill walking (TMW). The study was a randomized controlled trial, with assessors blinded to the participants’ allocated group. Measurements were conducted at pretest, post-test, and follow-up. Outcome measures included: the 10-m walking test (10 mW), Timed Up and Go (TUG), the Functional Reach Test (FRT), the Lateral Reach Test Left/Right (LRT-L/R); the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, and the Berg Balance Scale(BBS). Results: Improvements were observed in balance variables: BBS, FRT, LRT-L/R, (P < .01) favoring the DTW group; in gait variables: 10 mW time, also favoring the DTW group (P < .05); and the ABC scale (P < .01). No changes for interaction were observed in the TUG. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate the potential of VR-based DTW to improve walking and balance in people after stroke; thus, it is suggested to combine training sessions that require the performance of multiple tasks at the same time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104343
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Volume28
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Disability
  • exercise
  • gait
  • training
  • treadmill

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