Virtual reality in neurorehabilitation: a review of its effects on multiple cognitive domains

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Neurological diseases frequently cause adult-onset disability and have increased the demand for rehabilitative interventions. Neurorehabilitation has been progressively relying on computer-assisted programs and, more recently, on virtual reality (VR). Current reviews explore VR-based neurorehabilitation for assessing and treating the most common neurological pathologies. However, none of them explored specifically the impact of VR on multiple cognitive domains. Areas covered: The present work is a review of 6 years of literature (2015-2020) on VR in neurorehabilitation with the purpose of analyzing its effects on memory, attention, executive functions, language, and visuospatial ability. Expert opinion: Our review suggests that VR-based neurorehabilitation showed encouraging results for executive functions and visuospatial abilities particularly for both acute and neurodegenerative conditions. Conversely, memory, and attention outcomes are conflicting, and language did not show significant improvements following VR-based rehabilitation. Within five years, it is plausible that VR-based intervention would be provided in standalone and mobile-based platforms that won’t need a PC to work, with reduced latency and improved user interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1061
Number of pages27
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • attention
  • cognitive rehabilitation
  • executive functions
  • language
  • memory
  • neurorehabilitation
  • Virtual reality
  • visuospatial ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering


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