Do Robotics and Virtual Reality Add Real Progress to Mirror Therapy Rehabilitation? A Scoping Review
Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Background. Mirror therapy has been used in rehabilitation for multiple indications since the 1990s. Current evidence supports some of these indications, particularly for cerebrovascular accidents in adults and cerebral palsy in children. Since 2000s, computerized or robotic mirror therapy has been developed and marketed. Objectives. To map the extent, nature, and rationale of research activity in robotic or computerized mirror therapy and the type of evidence available for any indication. To
... vestigate the relevance of conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis on these therapies. Method. Systematic scoping review. Searches were conducted (up to May 2018) in the Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore, Medline, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and PsycINFO databases. References from identified studies were examined. Results. In sum, 75 articles met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were publicly funded (57% of studies; n = 43), without disclosure of conflict of interest (59% of studies; n = 44). The main outcomes assessed were pain, satisfaction on the device, and body function and activity, mainly for stroke and amputees patients and healthy participants. Most design studies were case reports (67% of studies; n = 50), with only 12 randomized controlled trials with 5 comparing standard mirror therapy versus virtual mirror therapy, 5 comparing second-generation mirror therapy versus conventional rehabilitation, and 2 comparing other interventions. Conclusion. Much of the research on second-generation mirror therapy is of very low quality. Evidence-based rationale to conduct such studies is missing. It is not relevant to recommend investment by rehabilitation professionals and institutions in such devices.