DEVELOPMENT OF DYNAMIC BODY-BALANCE TRAINING SYSTEM APPLYING VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY
Shin-ichiro Takasugi, T. Nejime, T. Kamishima, Y. Sugioka (Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan) T. Yoshimura, S. Hamasaki, M. Yoshizawa, M. Hayakawa (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.)
Purpose: Earnest approaches for bed-ridden patients to stand up soon or for elderly people to avoid falls or traffic accidents are urgent business. "Dynamic body balance training" is not only an important step for those purposes, but also an effective drill for even young athletes. We are trying to develop an unique training system aiming at improvement of dynamic body balance with advanced technology of virtual reality.
Method: The training system detects the center of gravity of the patient who sits or stands in front of a large-sized display, on which his incarnation is indicated together with the "virtual scenery" synthesized with computer graphics (CG). His incarnation can be moved around in the "virtual space" interactively by inclining his upper body to the direction he wants to go.
To maintain motivation of the patients, several modes of virtual environments were prepared, such as "virtual ski race" or "virtual flight". Relative difficulty and training time can be regulated adequately according to their age or physical handicaps. The training results and evaluation data can be forwarded through a telephone line from terminal computers to server one to be analyzed and preserved.
Result: After the training, most of the patients described pleasure and high motivation for it. We also found some temporal changes of physiological parameters during the training.
Conclusion: As all of our computer programs run on the Internet-specialized software, we believe that this device could be a part of regional medical care network for supporting the aged or handicapped people staying at home or institutions and that it could provide adequate physical training and mental amusement in the near future.
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF THERAPEUTIC ELECTRICAL STIMULATION FOR ALS PATIENTS
Ikuko HANDA (TOHOKU University, Sendai, Japan), H. SHIMIZU, H. MINAMI, R. YAGI, K. IHASHI, N. MATSUSHITA, Y. HANDA, Y. ITOYAMA
This paper describes the effects of therapeutic electrical stimulation (TES) on progressively deteriorating muscles in 28 patients with amyotrophic lateral screlosis (ALS). A multichannel FES system which we developed were used in order to apply cyclic stimultaion to the affected muscles automatically. Within one or two weeks TES therapy, many patients showed an improvement of voluntary motion due to afferent effect of TES. Long-term TES therapy more than 6 months resulted in the increment or maintenance of muscle strength in some of these patients. CT findings of the TES treated muscles in these patients showed an increase in muscle density and a decrease in moth-eaten image. Thus it is likely that TES is effective for the treatment of ALS.