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Visuomotor Feedback Training (VFT) Can Improve Vision in Stroke Patients

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A new study by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Glasgow has found that an affordable method known as Visuomotor Feedback Training can improve the lives of stroke sufferers with vision problems.

A stroke can influence the way in which the brain processes the information it receives from the eyes which is able to cause some visual processing problems. The study wanted to test the effectiveness of visuomotor feedback training (VFT) in the treatment of visual neglect, which happens when the brain does not process the information about what is obvious on one side.

Patients with visible neglect may not be conscious of the left or right side relying on the side of their stroke. For instance, if the stroke impacts the right side of the brain then sufferers may have problems processing the left side. This implies they might unintentionally ignore folks, or even their own body, and may stumble upon things due to the fact that they do not comprehend that they are there.

The researchers, led by Dr Stephanie Rossit of UEA’s School of Psychology and Dr Monika Harvey of the University Glasgow’s School of Psychology developed and demonstrated a variation of VFT for rehabilitating visual neglect within the patient’s home.

A simple treatment method of grasping, lifting and balancing wood rods of different sizes, the idea is that by repeatedly grasping the rod in order that it’s balanced when lifted, the patients receive various sources of feedback from their senses, such as seeing, touching and feeling the rod tilting, which helps curb the visual neglect. This unexplored procedure is not currently in clinical use.

The findings, released in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, is able to show primarily that VFT produces marked and long-lasting upgrades in visual neglect, even after only one hour of treatment. In particular, sufferers who got VFT have been able to find many more objects of their neglected part than before treatment and these upgrades lasted for at least four months after the treatment had finished.

Additionally, the group additionally determined that VFT improved aspects of the patients’ daily lives, like eating, dressing and social routine, and produced long-lasting improvements even with fewer sessions and on more severely impaired patients than in previous research.

Visual neglect is disabling; one-third of all stroke survivors with visual neglect can show indicators of it for a year or more after the stroke. In the UK, stroke happens roughly every three minutes. There are presently more than 1.2 million stroke survivors within UK and half of all survivors have incapacity.

According to the researchers, visual neglect is a severe disorder and rehabilitation is hard, as currently no strategy has been encouraged for scientific use. However, this study indicates that VFT is a totally promising remedy for huge-scale implementation. Unlike techniques, VFT can be easily taught and administered; it’s non-invasive, cost-effective and can be performed by patients themselves in their homes.