Virtual Reality Versus Conventional Treatment of Reaching Ability in Chronic Stroke: Clinical Feasibility Study

Mindy F. Levin, Osnat Snir, Dario G. Liebermann, Harold Weingarden, Patrice L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of exercises performed in a 2D video-capture virtual reality (VR) training environment to improve upper limb motor ability in stroke patients compared to those performed in conventional therapy. Methods: A small sample randomized control trial, in an outpatient rehabilitation center with 12 patients with chronic stroke, aged 33-80 years, who were randomly allocated to video-capture VR therapy and conventional therapy groups. All patients participated in four clinical evaluation sessions (pre-test 1, pre-test 2, post-test, follow-up) and nine 45-minute intervention sessions over a 3-week period. Main outcomes assessed were Body Structure and Function (impairment: Fugl-Meyer Assessment [FMA]; Composite Spasticity Index [CSI]; Reaching Performance Scale for Stroke), Activity (Box and Blocks; Wolf Motor Function Test [WMFT]), and Participation (Motor Activity Log) levels of the International Classification of Functioning. Results: Improvements occurred in both groups, but more patients in the VR group improved upper limb clinical impairment (FMA, CSI) and activity scores (WMFT) and improvements occurred earlier. Patients in the VR group also reported satisfaction with the novel treatment. Conclusions: The modest advantage of VR over conventional training supports further investigation of the effect of video-capture VR or VR combined with conventional therapy in larger-scale randomized, more intense controlled studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalNeurology and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
and we certify that all financial and material support for this research (e.g., NIH or NHS grants) and work are clearly identified here. This work was supported by FRSQ-REPAR International Collaborative Grant, Israel Ministry of Health no. 3-00000-4227. Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, hosted the study and provided access to patients. Dr. Levin is the guarantor for this article, and takes responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole.


  • Clinical outcomes
  • Intervention
  • Reaching
  • Stroke
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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