About this Research Topic
Neurodegenerative diseases can simultaneously impair different functions of the nervous system. The broad range of changes include cognitive-behavioral and neuropsychological disabilities, which negatively impact on patients' quality of life and prognosis. The neuropsychological evaluation and recovery of patients with neurological diseases is complex and would greatly benefit from the development of new techniques to support these processes.
This growing interest in the development of new technologies has therefore led to the introduction of different technological devices aimed at enhancing neuropsychological assessment and improving outcomes of conventional clinical intervention strategies. As such, the development of virtual reality (VR) systems alone or in combination with robotic systems has increased dramatically in its application for neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation. Researchers from many different fields, such as rehabilitation sciences, neuroscience, and medical sciences, have focused on the application of such new technologies in neurorehabilitation. Although, robotic devices have been investigated in particular for motor recovery using treadmills, exoskeletons for the whole body, upper or lower limbs, and balance platforms, etc., today, the integration of immersive or non-immersive virtual reality systems within the robotic systems for rehabilitation has been growing further in order to tackle deficits beyond the motor system, extending the application to the treatment of cognitive deficits. Hence, the combined application of different technologies for rehabilitation may pave the way to a more holistic rehabilitation of neurological patients with multiple deficits.
In addition, non-invasive brain stimulation technologies such as transcranial direct current direct stimulation (TDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and functional electrostimulation, can be used in combination with robot-assisted trainings and virtual reality to modulate brain excitability and neuroplasticity during the rehabilitation period, potentiating rehabilitation outcomes in patients with neurodegenerative disease. Hence, as technological advances are made for both neuropsychological rehabilitation and assessment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, we need to further our understanding on how to apply such new technologies to the treatment, monitoring or assessment of neurological patients.
Therefore, the aim of this Research Topic is to bring together the latest findings on new robotic technologies, brain computer interfaces, and virtual reality systems for neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation applied to patients with neurodegenerative diseases. We are particularly interested in mapping key developments, innovations, and future directions, as well as strengths and limitations of newly developed technologies and virtual reality systems.
This Research Topic welcomes Original Research, Reviews, Case Reports, short article types and others that treat, monitor, and evaluate neurodegenerative diseases. We encourage submissions from across the Psychology discipline (neuropsychology, cognitive and applied psychology, and cognitive neuroscience).
Keywords: Assessment, Rehabilitation, Virtual reality, Neurodegenerative diseases, Technologies
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