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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Interactive wiimote gaze stabilization exercise training system for patients with vestibular hypofunction

Po-Yin Chen123, Wan-Ling Hsieh23, Shun-Hwa Wei3 and Chung-Lan Kao134*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201 Shih-Pai Road, Section 2, Taipei, 11217, Taiwan

2 Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201 Shih-Pai Road, Section 2, Taipei, 11217, Taiwan

3 Institute of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, No. 155, Sec 2, Linong Street, Taipei, 11221, Taiwan

4 School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, No. 155, Section 2, Linong Street, Taipei, 11221, Taiwan

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2012, 9:77  doi:10.1186/1743-0003-9-77

Published: 9 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Peripheral vestibular hypofunction is a major cause of dizziness. When complicated with postural imbalance, this condition can lead to an increased incidence of falls. In traditional clinical practice, gaze stabilization exercise is commonly used to rehabilitate patients. In this study, we established a computer-aided vestibular rehabilitation system by coupling infrared LEDs to an infrared receiver. This system enabled the subjects’ head-turning actions to be quantified, and the training was performed using vestibular exercise combined with computer games and interactive video games that simulate daily life activities.

Methods

Three unilateral and one bilateral vestibular hypofunction patients volunteered to participate in this study. The participants received 30 minutes of computer-aided vestibular rehabilitation training 2 days per week for 6 weeks. Pre-training and post-training assessments were completed, and a follow-up assessment was completed 1 month after the end of the training period.

Results

After 6 weeks of training, significant improvements in balance and dynamic visual acuity (DVA) were observed in the four participants. Self-reports of dizziness, anxiety and depressed mood all decreased significantly. Significant improvements in self-confidence and physical performance were also observed. The effectiveness of this training was maintained for at least 1 month after the end of the training period.

Conclusion

Real-time monitoring of training performance can be achieved using this rehabilitation platform. Patients demonstrated a reduction in dizziness symptoms after 6 weeks of training with this short-term interactive game approach. This treatment paradigm also improved the patients’ balance function. This system could provide a convenient, safe and affordable treatment option for clinical practitioners.