Serious Exergames for the Rehabilitation of Cognitive Deficits in Multiple Sclerosis

17 Oct 2024
14:30 - 15:00

Serious Exergames for the Rehabilitation of Cognitive Deficits in Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease affecting approximately 2.5 million individuals worldwide. Approximately two-thirds of patients are to some degree impacted in their cognitive functions. However, cognitive impairment has only been recognized as a symptom of MS a few decades ago, leading to a lack of consensus regarding neurorehabilitation strategies for MS-related cognitive deficits.

Our pilot study assesses the adherence to, safety and efficacy of a serious exergame called Body-Brain Trainer (BBT). Displayed on a large screen, BBT integrates both cognitive and physical exercises. A motion sensor tracks the players’ movements. This immersive adaptive game aims at enhancing the players’ motivation to engage in cognitive challenges, improving the benefits of rehabilitation.

Twenty-four patients (aged between 18 and 65 years) with a definite diagnosis of MS and presenting a cognitive complaint and an objective cognitive impairment (z-score of ≤ -0.5 at the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, SDMT) are currently being recruited. Twelve patients are randomly assigned to the Body-Brain Training group (BBT) and twelve to an active placebo tablet-based training control group (MBT).

Adherence and safety of the BBT intervention will be assessed through drop-out rate and an experience survey. Preliminary data on the potential efficacy of serious exergames to improve cognition, physical fitness, and quality of life will be analyzed during the Summer 2024. Processing speed, often reported as one of the most commonly affected cognitive domain in MS, is evaluated by the SDMT. Patient-reported outcome measures will provide information on subjective cognitive functions, mood and quality of life.

The conclusions drawn from this pilot study will provide guidance for a future multicentric randomized control trial, and will open perspectives towards non-pharmacological interventions for the rehabilitation of cognitive deficits among patients with MS.