LED Floors for TBI Treatment


It seems that researchers are developing new ways to treat TBI and aid recovery daily. There seems to be a real push on in the world of physical therapy to incorporate new modalities of treatment. We are seeing the use of virtual reality combined with treadmills in England, and now the University of Twente, in Enschede Netherlands, has installed a new treatment facility which they hope will help people rehabilitate from injuries that have caused difficulties walking.

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, resulting from accidents or strokes can impair motor abilities in patients. For these individuals finding the right treatment modality and motivation is key to success and recovery. At the University of Twente they have installed an LED video floor as an alternative to traditional treadmill therapy. The floor looks like a long version of a cell phone screen that is displaying a game. The idea behind it is that once the treatment is settled on the therapist can chose from a number of different games that the patient plays out while walking up the display screen. The idea behind the games is that they are competitive and keep the patients interest in the therapy session longer than simply walking along on a treadmill might. Preliminary use suggests that the video floor even speeds up recovery for any patients.

People often suffer TBI from car accidents, and slip and fall accidents. TBI can vary from minor symptoms like headache or ringing of ears, to loss of consciousness, or severe trauma resulting in physical and cognitive impairment. Anytime that an individual suffers a blow to the head, whether that is from a car or sporting accident, or from falling down, they should be monitored for symptoms of a TBI. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately while others may take weeks or days to develop.

The Mayo Clinic advises that the signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes

  • No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fatigue or drowsiness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sleeping more than usual

  • Dizziness or loss of balance


Sensory symptoms

  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell

  • Sensitivity to light or sound


Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Memory or concentration problems

  • Mood changes or mood swings

  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as the following symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours

  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea

  • Convulsions or seizures

  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes

  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears

  • Inability to awaken from sleep

  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes

  • Loss of coordination


Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Profound confusion

  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior

  • Slurred speech

  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness


Children's symptoms

Infants and young children with brain injuries may lack the communication skills to report headaches, sensory problems, confusion and similar symptoms. In a child with traumatic brain injury, you may observe:

  • Change in eating or nursing habits

  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled

  • Unusual or easy irritability

  • Change in ability to pay attention

  • Change in sleep habits

  • Sad or depressed mood

  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities

When to see a doctor

Always see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a recent blow or other traumatic injury to the head.

The terms "mild," "moderate" and "severe" are used to describe the effect of the injury on brain function. A mild injury to the brain is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis.


PHOTO: University of Twente Facebook Page

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