Technology for health, virtual reality and rehabilitation combined for Multiple Sclerosis

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease of the nervous system impacting 47,000 people in Spain with an additional 1,800 cases being reported annually (Spanish Neurological Society). For this population, rehabilitation is a key component for managing symptoms that affect activities of daily living.

    Rehabilitation for individuals with MS is typically managed by a multidisciplinary team of therapists and is accompanied by a pharmacological intervention. However, over the past decade, clinicians have become interested in the opportunity for digital technologies - including virtual reality – to improve both the access, and quality of care when used as an adjunct to traditional approaches. 

    TEVA Virtual Rehab in Neurology (TEVRENE) is a new virtual reality intervention for Multiple Sclerosis developed by Virtualware in collaboration with Teva Pharma and the rehabilitation department at ADEMBI (Biscay Multiple Sclerosis Association).  The project has brought together a consortium of healthcare professionals, scientists and software engineers to create a new benchmark in virtual reality rehabilitation for people living with Multiple Sclerosis.

    Carlos Teixeira, CEO of Teva Spain and Portugal, summarises the TEVA’s motivation for engaging in this innovative project: “TEVA is committed to provide effective solutions for the MS community, not only exploring and developing efficient treatments, also supporting initiatives based on new technologies for making them to live better.”  TEVRENE is a pioneering project that aims to increase the autonomy of patients with MS who engage in rehabilitation; reinforcing their self-esteem, motivation and adherence to the rehabilitation process using gamified feedback and attractive 3D environments. The training content on the system is focused around activities of daily living (ADL) - everyday tasks that can be severely affected by MS, reducing the quality of life and independence.

    The VR solution developed by Virtualware, immerses the patient in realistic virtual scenarios using the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset and peripheral tracking sensors attached to the patients’ hands or wrist. This solution offers several benefits, complementing traditional rehabilitation:

    • Additional task-orientated practice for ADL activities
    • Feedback systems designed to motivate and improve adherence to high dose rehabilitation
    • Executive function rehabilitation activities
    • A combination of cognitive and motor challenges
    • Adaptive difficulty that can be adjusted to the patient’s ability
    • Customisable training programmes and environments

    A pilot project testing the feasibility of the system will be starting soon at the ADEMBI rehabilitation centre in Bilbao. The study will recruit 20 participants with the goal of evaluating the system on symptoms of MS. Julio Alvarez, eHealth Business Manager adds “The innovative approach of TEVRENE, will support and improve the quality of life of patients living with MS both now and in the future”

    Video: https://youtu.be/Y5a-8qLUI10

     

    ABOUT VIRTUALWARE
    Virtualware is a world-renowned company, created in 2004, with expertise in bespoke solutions based on immersive and interactive technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification, immersive training, serious games and interactive hardware manufacturing. The company has been working in the health sector over the last 8 years and it has an extensive portfolio of work across the entire spectrum of the industry.  It is a CE-certified medical device manufacturer, providing tools and technological solutions to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and special needs.  The company belongs to Virtualware Group which has 70 people in its offices in Bilbao, Madrid, United Kingdom, Mexico and Chile and has a dedicated R&D lab focused on collaborative projects.

    ABOUT TEVA SPAIN
    Since its arrival in Spain in 2004, TEVA has been focused on meeting the needs of patients, offering them a wide range of products that is growing day by day.  Its current organization includes the Generics, Respiratory and Hospital Specialties Division, with a strong focus on the Central Nervous System, Oncology and Pain. Its objective is twofold: to maintain leadership in generic medicines and to lead strategic franchises.

    ABOUT ADEMBI
    The Multiple Sclerosis Association of Bizkaia (ADEMBI) was founded in 1984 and over the years has stood out for carrying out initiatives such as the setting up, 17 years ago, of the Eugenia Epalza Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centre in Bilbao, the first of its kind in the Basque Country and a benchmark in Spain. The Centre offers specialised and personalised treatment, physical and psycho-social rehabilitation and care for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis in Bizkaia. The aim is to make it easier for these people to continue living in their family environment for longer and with a better quality of life.

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