Virtual shot in the arm

Commonly associated with video games, virtual reality technology is increasingly finding its way into healthcare applications.

From helping seniors feel less isolated to preventing brain injuries in athletes, researchers use virtual reality to study and develop solutions to various real-world problems.

The class is in session

When the pandemic interrupted their studies, medical students at Musgrove Park Hospital in the UK turned to VR technology to continue their training.

Handheld controllers and virtual reality headsets allowed students to immerse themselves in virtual hospital settings, learn to explain diagnoses and discuss treatment plans, deal with difficult situations, and interact with patients ’families, all without face-to-face training. .

The technology, from British startup Virti, also allowed students to visit virtually operating rooms, which in real life would be limited to just three or four people at a time.

Surgeon and head of skills and courses at Richard Bamford Hospital, said the VR experience is reliable, realistic and based on a real environment.

“It gives students a good opportunity to train, especially at times when training has been affected for different reasons, Covid is one of them,” he told AFP.

Happy technology

Residents at a Florida community center for seniors have used virtual reality headphones with video and sound that allow them to choose to experiment floating in outer space with astronauts or visit Paris, Venice, or other distant places.

The Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab uses RV at the Senior Center as part of a study to see if it can be used to boost residents ’mood, improve staff relationships, and make older people are more open to technology.

“This particular study focuses on how the use of virtual reality could reduce the feelings of isolation of residents of the outside world, even more importantly after the isolation we had to face during the pandemic,” he said. the founding director of the Stanford Laboratory, Jeremy Bailenson, in an AP report.

Mental games

The Dell School of Medicine at the University of Texas is conducting a study with VR and video games to try to rebuild the brains of teens with epilepsy, according to a report from Austin American-Statesman.

Adolescents who need brain surgery to stop seizures and who are enrolled in the study will have this area of ​​the brain mapped to see what functions are there.

Using special virtual reality gaming systems for treadmills, participants will play specific video games to allow researchers to see how these areas of the brain work in real time.

Researchers will also provide brain feedback using sensors and VR, with the goal of helping you perform specific functions such as movement, speech, or language in different areas.

Their hope is that the brain will remember the new neural pathways created through the games repeatedly, to help minimize the amount of permanent damage caused by surgery and thus reduce the number of therapies needed by patients.

Do not be afraid

According to a report published by Rey, Austin-based startup Rey seeks to help mental health patients overcome phobias with VR at the same time as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Austin American-Statesman.

The company’s technology allows people to explore their fears in virtual environments with a virtual trainer, who will guide them through exercises designed to reprogram the brain’s response to specific triggers.

The startup is based on technology and research developed by Oxford University, which showed that digital therapy can help people achieve clinical results in as little as two weeks.

Aside from phobias, Rey also uses his technology to offer treatment for psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear of heights, and social avoidance. It aims to include fear of public speaking and obsessive compulsive disorder in future treatments.

Heads up

To address the growing concerns about match-related brain injuries, a crucial part of football, RV has been leveraged as a potential preventative approach.

The British software company Rezzil is working with the best football clubs in the Premier League to improve the training of players through its latest virtual player headphones “Player 22”, which focus on headline exercises.

The company’s co-founder, Andy Etches, told Reuters that the technology will help reduce the number of times players come in contact with a physical ball, while virtual exercises aim to teach them how to handle the ball safely.

The company believes the RV could help combat the risks of lasting brain injury as a result of the departure.

According to Greg Wood, a senior professor of engine control at Manchester Metropolitan University, who works with Rezzil on technology: “We’ve found that making some headers in virtual reality has an impact up to five times less than driving a real ball, so it has less impact on the head and brain function. “

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