The Argentinian rehabilitation center INEBA (Instituto de Neurociencias Buenos Aires) presented the results from their ‘REAVITELEM’ study at the 35th annual congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS). The congresses took place in Stockholm, Sweden between the 11th and 13th of September.
ECTRIMS is an international event for researchers and clinicians specialised in treating Multiple Sclerosis, with a programme based on new developments in all areas of treating MS, including epidemiology, genetics, pathology, biomarkers, imaging, immunology and treatment. One of the main focuses of this year was looking at ways of providing new efficient treatment for progressive MS.
Dr Laura Saladino, Neurologist at INEBA and one of the researchers in the ‘REAVITELEM’ study presented a poster with the main aspects and conclusions of the year-long study using VirtualRehab with persons with MS. The poster was titled “Neuro rehabilitation effectiveness based on Virtual Reality and Tele rehabilitation in patients with Multiple Sclerosis in Argentina. ‘REAVITELEM’ study.”
As highlighted by Dr Saladino, Multiple sclerosis is the most common cause of nontraumatic disability in young adults and the use of Virtual Reality is now being looked at as a method to augment traditional rehabilitation for persons with MS.
The REAVITELEM Study consisted of an intervention program for persons with MS using VirtualRehab in specialised centers around Argentina and later in their homes through Tele-rehabilitation, all supervised by INEBA. Their main goals were to assess a standardized and specific neurorehabilitation intervention program based on Virtual Reality and Tele-Rehabilitation acceptability and effectiveness; and its functional impact on activity limitations; participation restrictions; adherence to treatment and quality of life related to health.
The multicenter 12-week intervention consisted of 30-minute sessions, twice a week for 12 weeks. The outcome measures included: Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), Fist and Key Pinch Dynamometry, Beck Depression Inventory-Fast Screen, Fatigue Severity Scale, Functional Independence Measure (FIM), International Questionnaire investigating Quality of life in MS (MusiQol) and a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) of satisfaction after treatment.
54 persons with MS (23 males/31 females) were recruited for treatment with VirtualRehab in centers and afterwards, 14 completed the tele-rehabilitation program. The results of using VirtualRehab for both clinical use and via telerehabilitation were very promising, as the conclusion of the study indicates: “The results of this study suggest that the NR treatment based on Virtual Reality in PWMS in Argentina, is an additional effective tool, which favors improvements in the level of functioning in activities of daily living, quality of life, mood and satisfaction with the treatment.”
Dr Fernando Caceres, who led the study said of it “It is very important to note that we have had statistically significant results with this type of intervention not only in “objective” disability measurement outcomes (such as the FIM scale), but also in parameters based on the patient’s perspective (currently called PRO-patient reported outcomes), as is the quality of life (measured with the MusiQoL scale).” He also weighed in on the importance of providing rehabilitation outside of the clinical setting when he stated “It is vital to try to include telerehabilitation strategies in countries such as Argentina where distances are large and the availability of specialized rehabilitation centers is scarce.”
INEBA plans to continue the study for another year to gain further data on the use of VirtualRehab in helping to treat persons living with Multiple Sclerosis, something the Evolv is very proud to be involved in.