Monthly Archives: May 2016

How VR is helping the victims of terrorism


“Virtual reality is already used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers – now it’s helping the victims of terrorist attacks

Researchers are carefully building virtual-reality versions of the Bataclan theatre and Paris streets to simulate the horrific attacks of last November. It’s not for some sick game, but to help victims suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

VR headsets are being used to treat a variety of psychological issues: to help people with autism train for stressful social situations, such as job interviews; to overcome phobias; and to reduce pain, particularly in people with severe burns, by distraction.

VR has been used to treat PTSD for more than a decade, the improvement and commercialisation of VR headsets of late has certainly helped, says Dr Albert “Skip” Rizzo, the director of medical virtual reality at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California.

Dr Rizzo is working with a consortium of European collaborators to build a virtual Paris scenario.

By Nicole Kobie at Alphr

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Future geriatricians ‘become’ Alfred, a 74-year-old patient, using virtual reality


“[In a study at] University of Illinois at Chicago a virtual reality experience transforms the user into a 74-year-old named Alfred in order to see his perspective as a medical patient.

Seven minutes in the shoes of an elderly man whose audiovisual impairments are misdiagnosed as cognitive ones — and a story that students across many disciplines have worked together to create.

Their goal was to craft an interactive, experiential product that could be used for curriculum in geriatrics — the health and care of elderly people — because of predicted growth in future U.S. aging populations and a disconnect between patients and the students or doctors who treat them.

Becoming Alfred helps users empathize with and better understand elderly patients.”

Credit: Carrie Shaw

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How virtual reality is transforming healthcare (incl. video)


“With VR headsets selling out faster than manufacturers can create them, the future looks bright for mass adoption, and that could well mean that an Oculus Rift looks just as natural in the doctor’s surgery as stethoscopes and needles.

Here is a list of some novel uses for VR in mental health and beyond:”

1. As a treatment for paranoia

2. Providing phantom limb pain relief

3. As a super-effective pain killer

4. Helping PTSD sufferers live with their trauma

5. As a controlled virtual environment for alcoholics

6. As training for lazy eyes

7. As social cognition training for young autistic adults

By Alan Martin at Alphr

Image: D Coetzee used under Creative Commons

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Paranoia ‘reduced with virtual reality’


“Virtual reality has been used to help treat severe paranoia.

Patients who suffered persecutory delusions were encouraged to step into a computer-generated Underground train carriage and a lift.

The simulations allowed the study’s 30 patients to learn social situations they feared were actually safe.

The study was led by Prof Daniel Freeman, a clinical psychologist at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry [who said] “At the heart of paranoia is the unfounded belief that people are under threat.”

By Fergus Walsh at BBC News

Image by Oxford University

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A virtual reality game that’s good for you and scientist-approved (incl. video)


“This small indie game could be the Xanax of VR… billed by its creators as a meditative virtual-reality experience.”

“We want to help teach people these breathing techniques so that they can then manage these conditions outside of the game,” says co-creator Owen Harris of Deep VR’s intended stress- and anxiety-reducing goal. “This is a technology that exists within all of our bodies that costs no money… that we have all have access to.”

“Through a partnership with Isabela Granic, a professor of Behavioral Studies at Radboud University in the Netherlands, Deep VR will become more than just a calming escape for VR enthusiasts; it’s now the basis for a psychological study that aims to alleviate anxiety in children.”

By Joseph Volpe at Engadget

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