Low-cost therapy produces long-lasting improvements for stro
A simple treatment of grasping, lifting and balancing wooden rods of different sizes, the idea is that by repeatedly grasping the rod so that it is balanced when lifted, the patients receive different sources of feedback from their senses - seeing, touching and feeling the rod tilting - which helps reduce the visual neglect. This relatively unexplored technique is not currently in clinical use.

The findings, published today in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, show for the first time that VFT produces marked and long-lasting improvements in visual neglect, even after just one hour of therapy. In particular, patients who received VFT were able to find many more items in their 'neglected' side of space than before treatment and these improvements lasted for at least four months after the therapy had finished.

Significantly, the team also found that VFT improved aspects of the patients' daily lives, such as eating, dressing and social activities, and produced long-lasting improvements even with fewer sessions and on more severely impaired patients than in previous studies.

A very disabling condition, up to a third of all stroke survivors with visual neglect can show signs of it more than a year after their stroke. In the UK, someone has a stroke approximately every three minutes. There are currently more than 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and half of all survivors have a disability.