THERA-Trainer senso

Effects of a research-based exergame training on motor and cognitive functions in patients with neurological diseases

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Cognitive-motor training in neurorehabilitation

Specific physical and cognitive training has been shown to have a positive effect on certain symptoms, such as impaired voluntary movement, balance and focus of attention. Thus, rehabilitation has a significant impact on the quality of life of neurological patients. 

A novel form of training – exergaming – combines cognitive and motor training elements with digital game play. For this purpose, game-based training programs are presented on a screen, which are controlled by specific body movements on a reactive ground plate. Depending on the training focus, different mental (e.g. reaction, inhibition) and physical (e.g. balance, coordination) functions are addressed. By linking the cognitive and motor performance elements, this combined form of training comes very close to the demands and sequences of everyday activities. 

These synergy effects can be exploited and functions relevant to everyday life can be specifically improved. In addition, the playful component increases the fun factor, which positively influences training motivation and adherence. Exergames thus represent a challenging and varied extension to conventional exercise therapy. Due to the high effectiveness of the intervention, there is great potential for neurorehabilitation, especially with regard to the recovery of motor functions, standing, walking and prevention. 

Using the example of the THERA-Trainer senso, a research-based training system for cognitive-motor training, this lecture critically reflects on the mechanisms of operation and effects of this therapeutic program in the context of evidence-based practice in neurorehabilitation.