Look at the cognitive deficits in patients with myotonic dystrophy type : an exploratory research on the effects of virtual reality

Giuseppa Maresca, Simona Portaro, Antonino Naro, Ileana Scarcella, Placido Bramanti, David Militi, Maria Accorinti, Rosaria De Luca, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is a neuromuscular disease, characterized by a progressive loss of strength, muscle stiffness, and difficulty in relaxation. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients can present several neuropsychological deficits, as well as anxiety and mood disorders. Aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and the effect of virtual reality in the cognitive and behavioral recovery of myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients. Eleven patients (8 female and 3 male) underwent a specific cognitive rehabilitation program including a conventional neuropsychological treatment followed by a virtual reality neurorehabilitation training using the Virtual Reality Rehabilitation System (Khymeia, Italy). Virtual reality improved many cognitive domains, including executive function, attention, verbal and visuo-spatial abilities, as well as mood and coping strategies. Due to the high prevalence of neuropsychological symptoms in patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1, cognitive rehabilitation should enter into the framework of these patients to potentially boost cognitive and behavioral function and improve quality of life.

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