Virtual or Augmented Reality will contribute tremendously in rehab and recovery of SCI. With Incomplete injuries this new tool can make day / night difference.
Referring to Sao Paolo, Brazil trial, it is obvious that virtual Reality component is adding something substantial and important for brain and cord to jump faster with re-wiring in effort to send signals to patient limbs.
For complete injured patients scientists had to use cap with special sensors to pick-up signals directly from the brain – as signals can not by-pass injured site.(Note 1 below);
Sao Paolo trial shows amazing results. All 12 complete injured SCI patients in this trial improved a lot and the most of them start to voluntary move their legs.
Incomplete injuries should be even easier to train using VR component with no need to use a cap to pick-up signals.
In lot of cases, Incomplete injured patient have signals by-passing injured site, but they are just too weak to contract muscles and move their limbs.
Sensors (wi-fi) can be attached on the skin should be able to pick up these nerve signals and to supply program that would run VR module with augmented reality showing legs movement.
Depend on level of mobility of incomplete injured person, different modes of support would be applied. In some cases just parallel bars will be enough. Gait support walking (ZeroG or similar) and in some cases Lokomat or even robotic suite (Hal or KeeoGo – suites able to pick up and amplify weak signals) should be adjusted to work in accordance with program and VR module.
This VR component combined with gait supported walking or robotic suite might be the holy grail for future physical rehabilitation.
Even simplified VR program without use of sensors should help incomplete SCI in rehab. Nobody knows without trial.
That’s why we need a program with Virtual Reality set of sitting / standing / walking / hand exercises available on google cardboard & smart phone for free massive VR trial. (Note 2) We need it Yesterday!!!
In Brazil complete injuries trial scientist put complex head cap interface to pick-up signals and transfer them to electrodes to lower body. However, this would never be enough to control standing and walking as Spinal Cord Injured person got no balance, which is controlled by corrective actions with more than 100 muscles in our body.
To help patient to walk they had to use Gait supported walking machines as “Locomat”.
After so many sessions with use of Locomat & Head cap and Virtual Reality program that was additional component to help brain to harmonize walking process and make it look more natural and inspirational, this Virtual Reality component shows up as extremely helpful as somehow (they don’t know yet why) helped patient brain to start to make physical nerve connections, and despite seriousness of injury (all 12 participants listed as complete injuries), after removal of head-cap and electrodes interface patients start to move their legs showing neurological connections were established! This amazing twist is showing regenerative ability of human body even beyond plasticity.
My idea is that Incomplete SCI, where some neurological connections are already existing, can be Fortified WITHOUT cap and electrode interface just with Virtual Reality program and constant series of supported walking exercises. Instead of waiting for any official trial, testing of this idea can be done by any volunteers combining their walking exercises and Virtual Reality program that might be crafted (by my opinion) much easier than program done for complete injuries.
We just need to mobilize people involved in creation of similar Virtual Reality programs for SCI or similar disability exercises, to make something that can be downloaded and used by us.
(Sao Paolo Trial) (VR future) (Affordable VR coming) (VR Therapy already) (VRT 2)
(VR help strokers fo move again) (VR strokers) (Scientifically explained) (AR scientific)
(VR Gaming – arm aralysis therapy)