Agreement between Virtual Bodyworks and Los Madroños Hospital
Applying immersive virtual reality technology in the rehabilitation of brain damage
Virtual Bodyworks, a spin-off of the University of Barcelona (UB), the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and ICREA, has begun to collaborate with the Advanced Unit of Neurorehabilitation of the Los Madroños Hospital, center of reference in the rehabilitation of brain damage and spinal cord injuries in Spain, to use immersive virtual reality technology in the rehabilitation of their patients. As part of this collaboration, Los Madroños Hospital becomes the first neurorehabilitation center that adopts a system developed by Virtual Bodyworks, and will play a key role in its development.
Pioneers in the application of immersive virtual reality in neuroscience
i-CORTEX® is an application that facilitates the neurological and physical rehabilitation of people who have experienced disorders ranging from chronic pain to cardiovascular accidents. The technology is based on the research work in virtual reality and neuroscience developed during the last fifteen years by UB researchers Mavi Sánchez-Vives, Mel Slater, member of the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB, and Bernhard Spanlang. This virtual environment makes rehabilitation exercises more attractive and entertaining for patients and has been published in different scientific publications. It has also proved its ability to enhance brain neuroplasticity, the ability of neurons to regenerate and form new connections. This system is able to significantly increase the recovery of the patient, even when used in people who had suffered a stroke three years before starting to use the technology.
Dr. Jesus Tornero, director of R & D at Los Madroños Hospital, stressed that
“it is vitally important to provide the best available technologies for our patients and participate in the development of techniques that benefit our national health system. When it comes to virtual reality and neuroscience, there is no doubt that Mavi Sánchez-Vives, Mel Slater and Bernhard Spanlang are the pioneers, so we are very happy to have the opportunity to work with the best in this field. “
In addition, Dr. Tornero stressed the importance of having a team of doctors with extensive experience that includes renowned rehabilitation physicians and neurologists, as well as international scientific advisers such as Dr. Antonio Oliviero. For his part, Albert G. Zamora, CEO of Virtual Bodyworks, said they are
“proud to have established a collaboration of this caliber with one of the leading Spanish hospitals in neurorehabilitation. Los Madroños not only has a strong culture of innovation, but is also the ideal partner to push technology to the next level of usability. “
The CEO of Virtual Bodyworks has highlighted the advantages of this agreement for both patients and the national health system:
“This collaboration will bring Virtual Bodyworks closer to its patients, improving the quality of treatment. In addition, we anticipate that the agreement will strengthen our clinical results and will serve as a reference for both the public health system and the private sector, including insurance companies, and, thanks to the use of this new technology, will allow savings in terms of time and costs. “
Albert G. Zamora has also announced that Virtual Bodyworks plans to include throughout 2019 several additional strategic agreements with the best clinical centers in Spain, the European Union and the United States, as it has been done with the Los Madroños Hospital.