The Cleveland Clinic, a Cleveland-based academic medical center, is combining virtual reality, game elements, and treadmill exercises to aid in rehabilitation and help patients recover from neurological impairments. Fred Frost, MD, chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic, and his team report that they have equipped a treadmill with projected visual and acoustic cues for training and evaluation.

There overall goal is to help improve function for patients affected by stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s, improve function.

According to a MedPage Today news release, the patients interact with visual projections and attempt to step on certain images while avoiding others. Frost says this interactivity refines gait, motor skills, and response time, and is backed by a number of studies in sensory integration. Frost adds that the costs of implementation vary from $5,000 to $100,000, but it can be captured downstream in the form of higher patient attendance.

In addition Frost says that therapists report more fun with patients. He states, “I think these types of devices are the future of gym-based physical therapy.” Frost adds, “It engages the patient, and it includes sensory integration, which is at the forefront of rehabilitation science.”

Source: MedPage Today