Virtual reality, at the service of patients with motor injuries

A team from the Neurological Training and Rehabilitation Center (Madrid) has decided to use virtual reality glasses to “trick the brain” and accelerate the recovery of patients with spinal cord injuries.

A few decades ago it seemed a matter of science fiction and, to this day, virtual reality (VR) is established as one of the best allies of Medicine.

In this context, a team of professionals has decided to go a step further by using glasses equipped with this technology to “trick the brain” and accelerate the recovery of patients with spinal cord injuries.

This technique, baptized as ‘neurovirtuality’, is being applied in the Neurological Training and Rehabilitation Center (Foren) located in the town of Tres Cantos (Madrid).

Its promoter, Dr. Charo Ortín, defines this process as “the influence that virtual reality has on the plastic mechanisms of neurons”, so the patient is convinced that what he is seeing through glasses is his own reality .

In statements to the EFE agency, the specialist in Neurocontrol Motor ensures that about forty patients have been treated “successfully” thanks to the ‘neurovirtuality’.

If they perform a daily training and thanks to a successful repetition, the nervous system learns to move again, which reinforces the connections between neurons.

A TRAINING THAT DECEIVES THE BRAIN

It should be noted that a patient who has suffered an injury “knows how to move a hand or a foot, but his neuronal connections are weak” and, for this reason, the mandate he sends to the brain “does not get results because his ability to learn something It has become negative, “explains the specialist.

The method promoted by the Foren center works in such a way that, when the patient tries to move an injured limb, he receives a response from his therapist while watching through his glasses a video in which he appreciates how his limb moves.

A response that can come through electrostimulation, vibration or temperature.

The brain understands that the extremity that it sees in the video is its own thanks to “a congruence and a perfect tuning”, so the patient is convinced that it is he who makes the movement.

The technique, in addition to “raising the motivation and joy” of these people, contributes “up to 90% of the treatment to progressively improve recovery.”

The response by the therapist may come through electrostimulation, vibration or temperature

However, not all people can be subjected to this treatment because, according to this expert, you need “imitation capacity”, that is, that your system of mirror neurons is intact; and “will to be deceived, since the deception of the brain is the basis of this technique”.

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