BACKGROUND: Cognitive dysfunction caused by brain injury often prevents a patient from achieving a healthy and high quality of life. By now, each cognitive function is assessed precisely by neuropsychological tests. However, it is also important to provide an overall assessment of the patients' ability in their everyday life. We have developed a Virtual Shopping Test (VST) using virtual reality technology. The objective of this study was to clarify 1) the significance of VST by comparing VST with other conventional tests, 2) the applicability of VST to brain-damaged patients, and 3) the performance of VST in relation to age differences., METHODS: The participants included 10 patients with brain damage, 10 age-matched healthy subjects for controls, 10 old healthy subjects, and 10 young healthy subjects. VST and neuropsychological tests/questionnaires about attention, memory and executive function were conducted on the patients, while VST and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were conducted on the controls and healthy subjects. Within the VST, the participants were asked to buy four items in the virtual shopping mall quickly in a rational way. The score for evaluation included the number of items bought correctly, the number of times to refer to hints, the number of movements between shops, and the total time spent to complete the shopping., RESULTS: Some variables on VST correlated with the scores of conventional assessment about attention and everyday memory. The mean number of times referring to hints and the mean number of movements were significantly larger for the patients with brain damage, and the mean total time was significantly longer for the patients than for the controls. In addition, the mean total time was significantly longer for the old than for the young., CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that VST is able to evaluate the ability of attention and everyday memory in patients with brain damage. The time of VST is increased by age.
S., O., K., S., A., N., Z., L., M., K., & T., F. (2013). A virtual shopping test for realistic assessment of cognitive function. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 10(1), 59. Retrieved from http://www.embase.com/search/results?subaction=viewrecord&from=export&id=L563040453