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Use of Immersive Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review

Clay, F; Howett, D; FitzGerald, J; Fletcher, P; Chan, D; Price, A; (2020) Use of Immersive Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease , 75 (1) pp. 23-43. 10.3233/jad-191218. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Immersive virtual reality (iVR) allows seamless interaction with simulated environments and is becoming an established tool in clinical research. It is unclear whether iVR is acceptable to people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia or useful in their care. We explore whether iVR is a viable research tool that may aid the detection and treatment of AD. Objectives: This review examines the use of iVR in people with AD or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: Medline, PsycINFO, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception. PRISMA guidelines were used with studies selected by at least two researchers. Results: Nine studies were eligible for inclusion. None reported any issues with iVR tolerability in participants with MCI and AD on assessment or treatment tasks. One study demonstrated capability for detecting prodromal AD and correlated with neuroanatomical substrates. Two studies showed iVR to have high accuracy in differentiating participants with AD from controls but were not hypothesis driven or with adequate controls measures. In a small validation study and two longitudinal case studies, iVR cognitive training was positively rated but did not demonstrate reliable benefit. Conclusion: iVR is emerging as a viable method of assessing older adults and people with AD. Strongest benefits were seen when closely integrated with theoretical models of neurodegeneration and existing screening methods. Further randomized controlled trials integrated with clinical populations are required. This will consolidate the power of iVR for assessment of MCI and clarify treatment efficacy beyond current applications in physical rehabilitation.

Type: Article
Title: Use of Immersive Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3233/jad-191218
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/jad-191218
Language: English
Additional information: This article is published online with Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive remediation, mild cognitive impairment, spatial navigation, virtual reality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124860
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