Monthly Archives: June 2015

Virtual Reality Simulations Offer Potential for Breakthrough in Preventive Care


“University of Georgia researchers have found that when it comes to convincing patients that sugary drinks lead to obesity, the virtual-reality message sinks in far more deeply than an ordinary pamphlet.

“We’ve found virtual reality to be much more effective than pamphlets or videos at getting the message across and prompting behavior change,” says Grace Ahn, an assistant professor in advertising who leads Georgia’s virtual-reality research efforts.

Virtual-reality researchers have shown that letting people experience the future today makes them more likely to change present-day behaviors. That makes virtual reality a good fit for preventive health care, says Ms. Ahn.”


By AMY WESTERVELT at The Wall Street Journal

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Using virtual reality to overcome fear, reduce prejudice (incl. video)


“While most virtual reality efforts are focused on game play and other forms of entertainment, the work at Stanford is squarely aimed on the potential social benefits of VR.

That translates to helping people combat fears, become more empathetic, reduce prejudice, adopt a healthier lifestyle, better withstand pain, manage their money, improve the environment, and even prepare for natural disasters.”

Image: Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab

By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY

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Virtual reality exposure therapy to treat military sexual trauma-related PTSD (incl. video)


“Clinical researchers in Emory’s Veterans Program will study the use of virtual reality exposure therapy to treat people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to military sexual trauma.

The virtual reality exposure therapy system, called BRAVEMIND, has been used to treat combat-related PTSD in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan with positive results. The system allows participants to be exposed to virtual environments in a head mounted video display that attempts to match scenes described by the veteran.

Previous studies found PTSD symptoms significantly improved from pre-to post-treatment in as few as six sessions.

The current study will evaluate the effectiveness of the BRAVEMIND system in those with PTSD due to military sexual trauma (MST).”

By Robin Reese at

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Virtual Reality PTSD therapy gets traumatized soldiers walking toward relief


“The high-tech machine called CAREN, short for Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment, is normally used to help patients with severe physical injuries learn to walk again. But in the next few weeks, the Canadian Forces hopes to use this technology to test an experimental form of psychotherapy to treat soldiers suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It’s not the first military has experimented with virtual-reality systems to treat PTSD. Advocates for soldiers and veterans don’t want to raise unreasonable hope for the new treatment, but say it’s vital mental health professionals keep exploring new ways of treating PTSD.”

By Tom Parry, CBC News

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Virtual reality helps stroke patients use weakened limbs


“Virtual reality could help stroke patients recover by “tricking” them into thinking their affected limb is more accurate than it really is.

Researchers in Spain found that making the affected limb appear more effective on screen increased the chance the patient would use it in real life.

This is important because stroke victims often underuse their affected limbs, making them even weaker.

A stroke charity welcomed the study and called for more research.”

By BBC News Health
Image: Belén Rubio Ballester

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More information: The visual amplification of goal-oriented movements counteracts acquired non-use in hemiparetic stroke patients, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2015 –

In Virtual Reality, San Diego Scientist Sees Tool To Help The Visually Impaired (video)


“Dr. Felipe Medeiros is an ophthalmologist and a professor who treats glaucoma patients like 63-year-old Melinda Person. He’s trying to develop better ways of spotting balance problems in his patients.

Medeiros used an Oculus Rift to put glaucoma patients like Melinda Person inside a virtual tunnel.

“The technology is there,” Medeiros said. “We need to find uses for this technology that will benefit the population as a whole, going beyond the video game use.”

Scientists no longer need six figures to explore virtual reality. They’ve been able to use the Oculus Rift in studies on pain management and PTSD therapy.”

Image & video: Katie Schoolov

By David Wagner at KPBS News

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Virtual reality is helping stroke patients to walk

Image: GloveOne

“Virtual reality might be most closely associated with the world of gaming, but now the medical profession is taking note and using the technology to treat people with serious brain conditions.

One company has created a glove which works alongside virtual reality goggles to give a user a sense of texture and depth. The device, called Gloveone, slips on a person’s hand, and sensation and texture is created by a series of complex vibrations.

Any virtual situation can be created with their software, which can be used by doctors in a way that they see fit for treating a patient with conditions such as Alzheimer’s or autism.

The technology is also playing a role in helping people – such as those who have had a stroke – re-learn movements such as holding an item or walking.”

By Arjun Kharpal at CNBC News

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