December 14-15, 2017

MedTech Impact 2017

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

info@medtechimpact.com

Tag Archives: virtual reality

Virtual Reality & Pain Reduction

Virtual Reality (VR) has been increasingly used to manage pain, trauma, and distress–particularly during painful medical procedures–as investigators hypothesize that VR acts as a nonpharmacologic form of analgesia by exerting “an array of emotional affective, emotion-based cognitive and attentional processes on the body’s intricate pain modulation system.” While originally recognized for its entertainment value, the application has expanded to a number of clinical areas.

A study conducted by Cedars-Sinai using virtual reality therapy, during which participants wore virtual reality goggles to watch calming video content, indicated that VR may be an effective tool in addition to traditional pain management protocols. Moreover, VR gives doctors more options than solely medication or pharmaceuticals.

More recent research tested real world dental procedures, using circumstances that included a cold pressor lab setup and virtual reality headsets. The participants were immersed in two differing environments: a calm beachside walk, and a busy urban situation that was rife with distractions. The calming scene was significantly more effective in terms of improving the ways participants experience and remember pain, during tooth extractions and fillings.

While the data is not unpredictable, the study points to the fact that it is important to discern what types of virtual reality environments are effective in alleviating pain. Perhaps more importantly, future variations may include certain virtual situations that are better at reducing pain in other procedures.

Virtual Reality: Potential for Parkinson’s

A newly published review of evidence and data has indicated that virtual reality (VR) holds potential for rehabilitation of Parkinson’s disease, the neurodegenerative disorder that has historically been managed by a combination of medication and physiotherapy. Virtual reality technology has been proposed as a new and inventive rehabilitation tool, one that can potentially optimize motor learning and replicate real-life scenarios in order to improve functional activities.

The study assessed the effect of VR training on gait and balance, in addition to an examination of the effects of VR on motor function, daily living activities, cognitive function, and quality of life. In comparison to physiotherapy, VR demonstrated an improvement in step and stride length and balance, by stimulating movement through computer-based games. The studies further revealed that VR exercise exhibited potential advantages over traditional exercise, as individuals were able to practice in a motivating and engaging environment.

As Parkinson’s disease has significant adverse effects on quality of life and independence, VR interventions may lead to greater improvements than physiotherapy. The idea that technology can effectively curb and treat a disease that impacts millions of people globally in a host of negative and difficult ways is an innovative and exciting breakthrough, which will likely generate further findings and discoveries.