BACKGROUND: Topographical disorientation represents one of the main consequences of brain injury. Up to now several methodological approaches have been used in the assessment of the brain injured patient's navigational abilities showing a moderate correlation with the impairments observed in everyday contexts. METHODS: We propose a combination of standardized neuropsychological tests and a more situated virtual reality-based assessment for the evaluation of spatial orientation in brain injured patients. RESULTS: When tested with this virtual reality integrated procedure patients showed performance and execution times congruent with their neuropsychological evaluation. When compared to a control group, patients revealed significantly slower times and greater errors in solving virtual reality based spatial tasks. CONCLUSION: The use of virtual reality, when combined with classical neuropsychological tests, can provide an effective tool for the study of topographical disorientation.
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