Background. Memory decline is a prevalent aspect of aging but may also be the first sign of cognitive pathology. Virtual reality (VR) using immersion and interaction may provide new approaches to the treatment of memory deficits in elderly individuals. Objective. The authors implemented a VR training intervention to try to lessen cognitive decline and improve memory functions. Methods. The authors randomly assigned 36 elderly residents of a rest care facility (median age 80 years) who were impaired on the Verbal Story Recall Test either to the experimental group (EG) or the control group (CG). The EG underwent 6 months of VR memory training (VRMT) that involved auditory stimulation and VR experiences in path finding. The initial training phase lasted 3 months (3 auditory and 3 VR sessions every 2 weeks), and there was a booster training phase during the following 3 months (1 auditory and 1 VR session per week). The CG underwent equivalent face-to-face training sessions using music therapy. Both groups participated in social and creative and assisted-mobility activities. Neuropsychological and functional evaluations were performed at baseline, after the initial training phase, and after the booster training phase. Results. The EG showed significant improvements in memory tests, especially in long-term recall with an effect size of 0.7 and in several other aspects of cognition. In contrast, the CG showed progressive decline. Conclusions . The authors suggest that VRMT may improve memory function in elderly adults by enhancing focused attention.

Controlling Memory Impairment in Elderly Adults Using Virtual Reality Memory Training: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

URGESI, Cosimo;
2010-01-01

Abstract

Background. Memory decline is a prevalent aspect of aging but may also be the first sign of cognitive pathology. Virtual reality (VR) using immersion and interaction may provide new approaches to the treatment of memory deficits in elderly individuals. Objective. The authors implemented a VR training intervention to try to lessen cognitive decline and improve memory functions. Methods. The authors randomly assigned 36 elderly residents of a rest care facility (median age 80 years) who were impaired on the Verbal Story Recall Test either to the experimental group (EG) or the control group (CG). The EG underwent 6 months of VR memory training (VRMT) that involved auditory stimulation and VR experiences in path finding. The initial training phase lasted 3 months (3 auditory and 3 VR sessions every 2 weeks), and there was a booster training phase during the following 3 months (1 auditory and 1 VR session per week). The CG underwent equivalent face-to-face training sessions using music therapy. Both groups participated in social and creative and assisted-mobility activities. Neuropsychological and functional evaluations were performed at baseline, after the initial training phase, and after the booster training phase. Results. The EG showed significant improvements in memory tests, especially in long-term recall with an effect size of 0.7 and in several other aspects of cognition. In contrast, the CG showed progressive decline. Conclusions . The authors suggest that VRMT may improve memory function in elderly adults by enhancing focused attention.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/866559
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