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Virtual reality for stroke patients

29th September 2005

Virtual reality stroke therapy, developed by a team at the University of Ulster, is helping stroke victims regain the use of their limbs.

According to the BBC, the team has developed a programme where patients are immersed in a virtual world where they can practice extremity movements.

Patients are re-taught everyday tasks including eating and drinking, which may have been made difficult due to the effects of their condition.

The development team, consisting of four staff from the university, have now been awarded the Innovations in Stroke Care award for the initiative.

Co-creator Jacqueline Crosbie said stroke was the most common cause of disability in adults and can permanently affect a person's lifestyle.

She added that current rehabilitation focuses mainly on getting the patient mobile as soon as possible so they feel independent.

"Considerably less time is spent on encouraging arm and hand activities," she said.

"We are hopeful that this new form of rehabilitation therapy will considerably improve the quality of life for people with stroke."