What About the Role of Virtual Reality in Parkinson Disease's Cognitive Rehabilitation? Preliminary Findings From a Randomized Clinical Trial

J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2018 Nov;31(6):312-318. doi: 10.1177/0891988718807973. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


Background: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of a virtual reality training with BTS Nirvana (BTS-N) system in the cognitive and behavioral recovery in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). The BTS-N is a semi-immersive therapy system used for motor and cognitive rehabilitation of patients with neurological diseases, by creating virtual scenarios with which the patient may interact.

Methods: We enrolled 20 patients with PD undergoing neurorehabilitation. All the patients were randomized into 2 groups: experimental group performing semi-immersive virtual reality training with BTS-N and control group undergoing traditional cognitive training. Each participant was evaluated before and immediately after the end of the training. Each cognitive training consisted of 3 sessions a week, each lasting 60 minutes, for 8 weeks, for a total of 24 sessions in each group.

Results: Experimental group showed a greater improvement in cognitive functioning, with regard to executive and visuospatial abilities, as compared with the control group.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that rehabilitation through a new virtual reality instrument could be a valuable tool in improving cognitive and behavioral outcomes of patients with PD.

Keywords: Parkinson disease; cognitive rehabilitation; virtual reality training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Virtual Reality*