How brain imaging provides predictive biomarkers for therapeutic success in the context of virtual reality cognitive training

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Jan:120:583-594. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.05.018. Epub 2020 Jun 10.


As Virtual reality (VR) is increasingly used in neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or attention deficit disorder, the question of how it impacts the brain's neuronal activity and function becomes essential. VR can be combined with neuroimaging to offer invaluable insight into how the targeted brain areas respond to stimulation during neurorehabilitation training. That, in turn, could eventually serve as a predictive marker for therapeutic success. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) identified neuronal activity related to blood flow to reveal with a high spatial resolution how activation patterns change, and restructuring occurs after VR training. Portable and quiet, electroencephalography (EEG) conveniently allows the clinician to track spontaneous electrical brain activity in high temporal resolution. Then, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) combines the spatial precision level of fMRIs with the portability and high temporal resolution of EEG to constitute an ideal measuring tool in virtual environments (VEs). This narrative review explores the role of VR and concurrent neuroimaging in cognitive rehabilitation.

Keywords: EEG; NIRS; Neurorehabilitation; Virtual reality; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Virtual Reality*


  • Biomarkers

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