Research Reports - Virtual reality for pediatric traumatic brain injury rehabilitation

Jiabin Shen, PhD, Sarah Johnson, BS, Cheng Chen, MD, Henry Xiang, MD, MPH, PhD

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
First Published February 6, 2018

Objective. Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with physical and psychobehavioral impairment in children. Effective rehabilitation programs postinjury are critical for children with TBI. Virtual reality (VR) has been increasingly adopted for brain injury rehabilitation. However, scientific synthesis is lacking in evaluating its effectiveness in pediatric TBI rehabilitation. This article aimed to conduct a systematic review on the effectiveness of VR-based pediatric TBI rehabilitation. Methods. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, PsycInfo, SCOPUS, CENTRAL, BioMed Central, CiNAHL, and Web of Science through November 2015. Personal libraries and relevant references supplemented the search. Two authors independently reviewed the abstracts and/or full text of 5824 articles. Data extraction and qualitative synthesis was conducted along with quantitative assessment of research quality by 2 authors. Results. A positive impact was found for VR-based interventions on children’s physical rehabilitation post-TBI. The quality of research evidence was moderate, which largely suffered from small samples, lack of immersive VR experience, and lack of focus on socioemotional outcomes post-TBI. Conclusions. The present review identified positive effects of VR interventions for pediatric TBI rehabilitation especially in physical outcomes. Future research should include larger samples and broader post-TBI outcomes in children using VR-based interventions.

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