Parkinson's Disease Diagnosed with help from Virtual Reality


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Medical applications for VR continue to spread. Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how Paraplegics can learn to walk again with help from Virtual Reality. Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University and the Siberian State Medical University, in Russia, believe that it could be the future of diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Methods to diagnosis many of these conditions is accomplished by visual assessment in most parts of Russia. The brain scanning technology such as a CAT scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis is only available in a handful of cities. The VR system being developed would be cheap and easy to roll out across the country.

Virtual Reality Balance Test

Researchers developed a simple balance test in VR, that people without the neurodegenerative disease could quickly pass. If the subject is suffering from a neurodegenerative disorder, then they may not be able to adapt so quickly and lose balance. In testing so far with 50 volunteers. Researchers were able to tell how much a person differs from a "healthy" baseline - though they warn that this isn't yet sufficient to make a diagnosis.

In the future, the system will be used not only for disease diagnosis but patient rehabilitation as well.

About the Author Michelle Figueras