UAE rolls out Virtual Reality rehab in physiotherapy

Artificial Intelligence techniques used in treatment of stroke patients and others

Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday announced its plans to introduce Virtual Reality (VR) rehabilitation in physiotherapy for stroke patients, people suffering from balance disorder and children with development disorders, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s syndrome, using Artificial Intelligence techniques.

The move comes in line with the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

The VR rehabilitation technology makes use of virtual world simulation to meet various requirements for effective medical intervention to achieve the best results, using a video game controller and a moving sensor.

Scientific studies have proven the effectiveness of this innovative technique in the rehabilitation and treatment of many such cases, the ministry said in a statement.

Dr Yousuf Mohammad Al Serkal, assistant undersecretary for the ministry’s hospital sector, emphasised the development is part of the ministry’s keenness to fully integrate artificial intelligence into medical services and achieve the goals of the National Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

It also aims to position the UAE as a leading global destination for health care in line with the UAE Vision 2021 to provide a world-class health care system using smart technology.

Dr Al Serkal said the adoption of VR technology falls within the framework of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which aims to achieve the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 by accelerating the implementation of programmes by integrating AI in services and data analysis by 2031.

He added that the advantages of VR using AI in physiotherapy provides an entertaining setting and allows the patient to complete the treatment at home with the possibility of remote rehabilitation, in addition to the ability to measure patient’s progress and evaluate results through a safe environment for the patient.

In the treatment of stroke, the VR system evaluates and enhances the recovery of the affected upper parts, in addition to the training for the walking device used for rehabilitation. The patient moves at a speed mounted on the motion platform with changing virtual environments being displayed on the front screen to simulate daily activities.

In the treatment of the balance disorder, VR is a safe and effective alternative to conventional therapy to improve the balance in patients. Patients reported that they enjoyed VR therapy without suffering from side effects, and with increased motivation.

The technique is also used to treat children with developmental disorders. It indicates positive developments in both perceived and performance capabilities in areas of daily activities, including social activities that they have not been able to do before.

Virtual therapy also assists cerebral palsy patients in the reorganisation of the brain and movement ability and visual cognitive skills, in addition to social participation and personal factors.

In the treatment of Parkinson’s syndrome, it resulted in a marked improvement in the movements, functional abilities, quality of life and balance of patients, the ministry said.


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