Category: Uncategorized

Virtual Reality Expands to Phobia and PTSD Therapy

http://www.abc10.com/news/local/virtual-reality-expanding-in-phobia-and-ptsd-therapy-education-gaming/394991048

Wiederhold’s clinic already uses the technology for medical therapy to help patients deal with PTSD, anxiety, phobias (like fear of flying), pain during medical procedures and chronic pain. She predicts more clinics using VR will pop-up in California and across the country within the near future.

 

 

 

 

Contact Information:

Virtual Reality Medical Center

9834 Genesee Avenue, Suite 427

La Jolla, California USA

frontoffice @ vrphobia.com

Virtual Reality Assisted Anesthesia During Gastrointestinal Surgery

Surgical Research Updates journal recently published “Virtual Reality Assisted Anesthesia (VRAA) during Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: Report of 115 Cases— Analysis of Physiological Responses.” The second report of this study focused on patients’ physiological responses to stress and pain during gastrointestinal surgery. Researchers from Interactive Media Institute, Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, and the Alberto Pisanty Clinic, and Panamerican University in Mexico City participated. Results indicate lower heart rate and respiration rate (physiological indicators of stress) in patients using VR than those who did not.

These findings support a previous publication of self-report pain scores and highlight the usefulness of VR to reduce physiological responses to stress and decrease pain without medication. These findings have large implications in surgical practice moving forward. Reduced need for medication like anesthesia help lower medical costs, reduce the risk complications, and reduce patient recovery time.

 

Contact author:

Brenda K. Wiederhold

Virtual Reality Medical Center

frontoffice@vrphobia.com

 

Virtual Reality expanding in phobia and PTSD therapy, education, gaming

By Irene Cruz

It always sounded like science fiction — technology that could make you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a building, walking on a balance beam, or sailing in the middle of the ocean.

But now, virtual reality technology has advanced to the point where that dream…has become a reality.

Virtual Reality headsets were one of the big-ticket items landing under Christmas trees last year, with many consumers ready to step into the 3-D gaming world. And as popular as those trendy pieces were, the entertainment industry isn’t the only place VR is striking it big in 2017.

Experts predict you’ll see more headsets in the classroom, in doctors offices treating phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], in the workplace, and on the internet bringing you to the latest news scene. Virtual Reality has been around for about three decades, but past issues — technology was too expensive, the equipment was clunky, people got motion sickness, the software wasn’t realistic — held the product back from popularity on the market.

“In the last two or three years, there has been a real frenzy about the equipment,” Dr. Skip Rizzo, a professor for USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, said. “Pretty soon, a virtual reality headset is going to be like a toaster. Everyone is going to have one. You may not use it every day, but every home will have one.”

The education field is looking into the technology as well, possibly for surgical training, combat training, and special needs classes.

“Autistic children sometimes take better to virtual reality – to computers – than they do to humans,” Dr. Brenda Wiederhold, president of Virtual Medical Center in San Diego, said. “We can train autistic children how to cross streets, how to order at a restaurant, how to behave more social appropriately.”

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European Medical Journal – Innovations

Interactive Media Institute, Virtual Reality Medical Center, and the Panamerican University School of Medicine in Mexico City recently published findings on the use of virtual reality (VR) surgical pain distraction in the January 2017 issue of the European Medical Journal – Innovations. In a study of 115 participants, researchers found people who viewed immersive VR environments reported less pain during and after their gastrointestinal surgical procedure than those who did not. The researchers call for further investigation into whether VR can be used to supplement or replace traditional pharmacological anesthesia.

 

This research adds on to studies already examining the use of VR in pain attenuation, but is one of the first to use VR during surgical procedures. Not only did the patients report lower pain scores, but the success of the treatment suggests the potential of VR to help lower the need for medications like anesthesia. Additionally, the surgeon rated his stress lower and completed surgeries faster when patients were in VR. The reduction of pain without pharmacological substances can 1) help lower costs for public health institutions, 2) reduce the risk of complications, and 3) decrease patient recovery time.

 

Contact author:

Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold

Virtual Reality Medical Center

frontoffice@vrphobia.com

Access full text:http://emjreviews.com/therapeutic-area/innovations/virtual-reality-assisted-anaesthesia-during-upper-gastrointestinal-endoscopy-report-of-115-cases

Vázquez JL, Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Wiederhold MD. Virtual reality assisted anaesthesia during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: report of 115 cases. EMJ Innov. 2017;1[1]:75-82. http://emjreviews.com/therapeutic-area/innovations/virtual-reality-assisted-anaesthesia-during-upper-gastrointestinal-endoscopy-report-of-115-cases/

Asia-Pacific Analysis: R&D spending boosts development

http://www.scidev.net/asia-pacific/r-d/analysis-blog/asia-pacific-analysis-r-d-spending-boosts-development.html

R&D investment lessons from China

There are lessons in R&D investment to be learned from China.  The Chinese government encourages Chinese companies to create and own technologies, and also transfer technology from abroad, according to American author and editor Professor Dr. Brenda K Wiederhold. [2]  “As a result, a number of multinational technology and pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of this policy” to transfer facilities from India. The Chinese government owns all top-ranked academies and has tripled its investment in education in the past 12 years, she notes. These universities emphasise research. “Of the five million students graduating per year, about one million are research students. And China’s academicians file more patent applications than those in any other country — 16 percent compared to 4 percent in the United States,” Wiederhold adds.

[2] Brenda K. Wiederhold  Investment in Innovation:  Lessons Learned from China (CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Volume 14, Number 4, 2011)

Contact Information:

Virtual Reality Medical Center

La Jolla, California USA

frontoffice @ vrphobia.com

When Pain is the Best Therapy

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/exposure-therapy/496547/

 

The Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, for example, offers VR therapy for all manner of fears. Heights, driving, needles and blood, spiders, enclosed spaces—you name it, they treat it. First steps in traditional phobia treatment sometimes involve imagining fearful scenarios, but a patient’s mind is naturally resistant to those thoughts and will go to some lengths to avoid fleshing out terrifying visions. Virtual reality scenarios have proved useful in social phobias, wherein patients have a debilitating fear of interacting with other people.

To schedule an appointment at one of our Southern California Clinics (Sorrento Valley, La Jolla and Coronado), please contact us at:   frontoffice @ vrphobia.com

Virtual Reality Breakthroughs Save Lives

https://theamericangenius.com/tech-news/virtual-reality-breakthroughs-save-lives/

 

VARIOUS THERAPIES ARE RIPE FOR VR

Therapy is another sector that’s highly compatible with VR, particularly when it comes to phobias. Patients interested in treating their panic and anxiety disorders with exposure therapy can find a convenient solution in the technological updates VR brings to the table. The Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego employs headsets in order to “[place] the client in a computer-generated world where they ‘experience’ the various stimuli related to the phobia.”

The Center uses this method to treat specific phobias, chronic pain and other anxiety and stress-related disorders.

To schedule an appointment at our Southern California area clinics (Sorrento Valley, La Jolla or Coronado), please contact us at frontoffice @ vrphobia.com

How to Cope with Your Fears

Up to 9 percent of the U.S. population has a specific phobia, according to the APA, including claustrophobia. Few seek help. “The phobias are the most predominant anxiety disorders that there are, but most [people with] them never get any treatment,” Wilson says. Instead, they do their best to avoid the situations that scare them.

But people who seek help can overcome their fears. “This isn’t like Type 1 diabetes,” which has to be managed through life, Wilson says. Nor is it something that people can usually “just get over,” adds Brenda Wiederhold, a clinical psychologist who treats anxiety disorders at the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego and Brussels. She says fear that’s unrelenting, excessive and irrational should drive patients to see a professional who treats anxiety. “If you’re starting to avoid things; if you know you need a medical test and you put off the MRI for a year – that’s when it’s gone from a fear to a phobia,” she says, noting that the condition typically manifests when people with a genetic predisposition for an anxiety disorder face a life stressor.

Even people whose claustrophobia-related anxiety isn’t debilitating or constant can improve with treatment. “Whether you have the disorder or you don’t have the disorder, if you have something that’s unpleasant to you, and you want to get rid of it – that’s the sign to get help,” Wilson says.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/exposure-therapy/496547/

Exposure therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, involves subjecting patients to increasing amounts of things they fear, or otherwise hope to avoid. It is one of the great success stories of mental health, and it’s not just for phobias…

Recently, a more palatable route has been introduced with virtual reality. The Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, for example, offers VR therapy for all manner of fears. Heights, driving, needles and blood, spiders, enclosed spaces—you name it, they treat it. First steps in traditional phobia treatment sometimes involve imagining fearful scenarios, but a patient’s mind is naturally resistant to those thoughts and will go to some lengths to avoid fleshing out terrifying visions. Virtual reality scenarios have proved useful in social phobias, wherein patients have a debilitating fear of interacting with other people.

www.vrphobia.eu

www.vrphobia.com

www.fearofflyingexpert.com

+1 858 642 0267

frontoffice@vrphobia.com

When Pain Is the Best Therapy

By Jessa Gamble

 In the vast arboretum near my home, ducks clamor on pond shores as shrieking children throw bread. The bike path bustles with university students, and, in winter, the adjacent canal teems with skaters. But for me, any health benefits that accrue from a brisk walk in the park are—I’m convinced—counteracted by the stress of encountering an off-leash dog.

My profound discomfort with canines may not rise to the level of phobia, but it is usually enough to turn a pleasant experience into a trial. When I see a dog, I may abruptly take a wide detour, or turn around altogether. Nevertheless, while easy, this approach probably isn’t helping me overcome my fear. According to science, the best solution to my dog problem is more dogs.

Exposure therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, involves subjecting patients to increasing amounts of things they fear, or otherwise hope to avoid. It is one of the great success stories of mental health, and it’s not just for phobias. Research on cases of intense fear and even traumatic brain injury shows that for a number of problems, the only way out is through.

After a concussion, for instance, many people find themselves unable to work. Reading for any length of time kicks off bouts of dizziness and a bright light could bring on crashing headaches. Even thinking for any length of time is exhausting. Anything but sitting still and sheltering the mind feels like a dangerous activity. That aversion to pain is perfectly natural, but it can lead to a stalled-out recovery.

Though the vast majority of concussion sufferers are fully recovered within three months or so, a “miserable minority”—5 percent or so—have persistent, debilitating symptoms. Long-term follow up shows no improvement, and even deterioration years down the road. Until recently there was no proven treatment for this seemingly permanent damage to quality of life.

The best treatment for overcoming concussions is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that includes going back to work for a longer workday each week, and exercising with progressively greater intensity, even if one’s symptoms come roaring back with a vengeance. Only by pushing through the misery, it seems, can the brain get back to its normal activities.

Exposure therapy is also a highly effective tool for overcoming post-traumatic stress. Reliving the battlefield from the safety of a peacetime environment has been shown to gradually remove the expectation of harm from the memory.

Ethically, for both concussions and PTSD, however, a treatment that consists of suffering is a tough sell for doctors, who have taken an oath not to do harm. The approach is one of the most underutilized treatments for PTSD, because psychologists are deeply uncomfortable with re-traumatizing their patients. And exposure therapy also holds little appeal in the short run for patients. For a concussion-sufferer, seeking out more pain feels like exactly the wrong thing to do.

Of course, many other medical treatments are also painful, and the long-term benefits are considered worth the trade-off. But in the case of exposure therapy, there is no palliative option—no anesthetic or painkiller—because the discomfort is not a side effect, it’s the main event.

Recently, a more palatable route has been introduced with virtual reality. The Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, for example, offers VR therapy for all manner of fears. Heights, driving, needles and blood, spiders, enclosed spaces—you name it, they treat it. First steps in traditional phobia treatment sometimes involve imagining fearful scenarios, but a patient’s mind is naturally resistant to those thoughts and will go to some lengths to avoid fleshing out terrifying visions. Virtual reality scenarios have proved useful in social phobias, wherein patients have a debilitating fear of interacting with other people.

For social phobias, exposure therapy in the real world is hard to control, because social interactions are so complex and unpredictable. A course of virtual-reality therapy will lead the patient through a number of exercises. First they might have to approach someone on the street or walk into a party where people turn to look at them. Finally, they might have to greet guests and—one of the most common of all fears—give a speech.

The practical drawback of virtual-reality therapy is that immersive environments are expensive to create and phobias come in many varieties. If someone has a paralyzing fear of paperclips, they are unlikely to find an off-the-shelf exposure program to treat them. That’s why others are turning to augmented reality, where the real, physical world is supplemented by input—either visual or audio—from a computer.

A head-up display screen that a patient looks through, for instance, can simply overlay a real-world environment with progressively closer-moving images of that patient’s feared object. Children who fear cockroaches can build up their courage until those insects appear to be walking all over their hands. Augmented reality treatment seems to be as effective long term for small animal phobias as actual exposure to those animals.

Only 8 percent of phobia sufferers seek professional help for it, and fear of the treatment itself may be part of that. I am unlikely to subject myself to any more dogs than I already encounter in a given day, though a computerized dog sounds just about manageable. If some newer treatments are more humane, others still turn to that old maxim: No pain, no gain.

For original article, click here.