Neurocognitive driving rehabilitation in virtual environments (NeuroDRIVE): A pilot clinical trial for chronic traumatic brain injury

Mark L. Ettenhofer*, Brian Guise, Brian Brandler, Katie Bittner, Sarah I. Gimbel, Evelyn Cordero, Shawn Nelson Schmitt, Kathy Williams, Daniel Cox, Michael J. Roy, Leighton Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Virtual reality (VR) technology may provide an effective means to integrate cognitive and functional approaches to TBI rehabilitation. However, little is known about the effectiveness of VR rehabilitation for TBI-related cognitive deficits. In response to these clinical and research gaps, we developed Neurocognitive Driving Rehabilitation in Virtual Environments (NeuroDRIVE), an intervention designed to improve cognitive performance, driving safety, and neurobehavioral symptoms. OBJECTIVE: This pilot clinical trial was conducted to examine feasibility and preliminary efficacy of NeuroDRIVE for rehabilitation of chronic TBI. METHODS: Eleven participants who received the intervention were compared to six wait-listed participants on driving abilities, cognitive performance, and neurobehavioral symptoms. RESULTS: The NeuroDRIVE intervention was associated with significant improvements in working memory and visual search/selective attention-Two cognitive skills that represented a primary focus of the intervention. By comparison, no significant changes were observed in untrained cognitive areas, neurobehavioral symptoms, or driving skills. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that immersive virtual environments can provide a valuable and engaging means to achieve some cognitive rehabilitation goals, particularly when these goals are closely matched to the VR training exercises. However, additional research is needed to augment our understanding of rehabilitation for driving skills, cognitive performance, and neurobehavioral symptoms in chronic TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-544
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Traumatic brain injury
  • cognition
  • driving Identifier: NCT02411227
  • rehabilitation
  • virtual reality


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