Use of a driving simulator to improve on-road driving performance and cognition in persons with Parkinson's disease: A pilot study

Hannes Devos, John C. Morgan, Arinze Onyeamaechi, Craig A. Bogle, Katie Holton, Jonathon Kruse, Sierra Sasser, Abiodun E. Akinwuntan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background/aim: The use of simulators as an assessment and intervention tool for driving is an emerging field in occupational therapy. We investigated the potential usefulness of a driving simulator to improve on-road skills and cognitive functions in drivers with Parkinson's disease (PD). Method: Fifteen participants with PD, and Hoehn and Yahr stages between 2 and 3 participated in this pre–post comparison study. Twelve of the 15 individuals (median age (Q1–Q3), 68 (63.5–72.5); 10 men) completed 10 hours of training in a high-fidelity driving simulator. A practical road test as well as off-road cognitive and simulator tests were administered at pre-training and post-training. Results: Nine participants, who passed the road test before training, passed at post-training. Furthermore, all three participants who initially failed the on-road test passed after training. Participants’ performance improved significantly from pre- to post-training on two cognitive tests: (i) the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and (ii) Dot Cancellation test. Conclusion: This pilot study demonstrates the potential usefulness of a simulator to improve on-road driving and driving-related cognitive skills in PD. Adequately powered randomized controlled trials are needed to further expand this field of study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-414
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Parkinson's disease
  • cognition
  • driving
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy

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