Category Archives: VR News

Burnaby surgeon uses virtual reality to teach medical residents

During this uncertain time, non-essential surgeries like knee and hip replacements are on hold. And so is the hands-on training for surgical residents in the orthopedics program at the University of British Columbia.

But those residents will soon be able to practise doing surgeries using Precision OS, a cutting-edge virtual reality program created by Dr. Danny Goel, an orthopedic surgeon at Burnaby General Hospital. The technology is already being used by orthopaedic residents at the University of Connecticut, and will roll out at UBC in mid-May.

To read more about this exciting new development in VR use in medical education, visit the link to the full story published on CTV news here.

We are certainly looking forward to all the ways VR can be used to advance medical education both during and perhaps after we return to the “new normal”.

VR SURGERY

Immersion in virtual reality scenes of the Arctic helps to ease people’s pain

Scientists from Imperial College London have found that using virtual reality headsets could combat increased sensitivity to pain, by immersing people in scenes of icebergs, frigid oceans and sprawling icescapes.

According to the researchers, the findings add to the growing evidence for the potential of VR technology to help patients with chronic pain.

Beyond the distracting effect, they think immersing patients in VR may actually trigger the body’s own inbuilt pain-fighting systems — reducing their sensitivity to painful stimuli and reducing the intensity of ongoing pain.

For more information, please see below:

Sam W. Hughes, Hongyan Zhao, Edouard J. Auvinet, Paul H. Strutton. Attenuation of capsaicin-induced ongoing pain and secondary hyperalgesia during exposure to an immersive virtual reality environmentPAIN Reports, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000790

VR for Reducing Severe Pain in Hospitalized Patients

VR has been found to be effective for severe pain in hospitalized patients and could be potentially used as a non-drug option for analgesia as a strong distraction mechanism.

A recent published study has found in a randomized controlled trial of 120 patients that VR has yielded in a significant pain reduction during the 48 and 72 hour post intervention period.

For more information, visit the study website: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219115

VR for Health in the News

It’s great to see VR for health applications featured in the news again. Beyond efficacy, improving effectiveness of VR for health in practice relies on users’ willingness to adopt this technology. Normalizing the usage of VR in health with realistic expectations through news articles like this is a great way to support VR adoption.

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/virtual-reality-in-medicine

Virtual Reality Shows New Promise for Treating Chronic Pain

A recent Globe and Mail article showcases our study to see if virtual reality environments can distract patients enough so that their pain is relieved.  For more information on the study: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-virtual-reality-shows-new-promise-for-treating-chronic-pain-bc/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Inside Perspective on Hospital Seclusion Rooms

Seclusion rooms are designated rooms in hospitals and schools for short-term management of disturbed or violent behaviour. Often, the patients involved suffer from psychiatric disorders or come from correctional facilities. In schools, these rooms have also been used with children with disabilities experiencing emotional distress. However, prolonged seclusion can also be a harmful experience. This Star article highlights the work of Gary Chaimowitz and his team who are using a VR simulation of seclusion rooms as a training tool to help staff understand the experience. The team also compares seclusion rooms to segregation cells in jails and prisons.

This seems like it could be a useful tool for staff and administrators who are more removed from the front-line setting. However, I’d hope anyone who has the authority to place patients in these rooms receive training involving a bit of time spent in these rooms.

A VR Action Observation Based Approach to Stroke Rehabilitation

A team at USC led by Dr. Sook-Lei Liew is looking to address severe motor impairments due to stroke using VR. The REINVENT (Rehabilitation Environment using the Integration of Neuromuscular-based Virtual Enhancements for Neural Training) project aims to leverage action observation networks to facilitate neuroplastic improvements in impaired brain motor regions. The team’s system supplies augmented visual feedback and embodiment in VR based on users EEG/EMG inputs.

CNET Article

IEEE Short Paper

A new AR system ProjectDR displays CT and MRI scans directly on the body

ProjectDR was developed by researchers at the University of Alberta.

There is other medical imaging software that exists but ProjectDR is unique because it allows doctors to view a patient’s internal anatomy within the context of the body as they move around and rotate in 3D space. The researchers plan to test the technology in operating rooms and surgery simulations.

VR to Complement/Reduce Opioid Use

Here’s another article about the potential of VR for acute and chronic pain.

“Acute pain is a perfect match for VR,” says Hoffman. “You only need it for 20 minutes and it has drastic effects.” Chronic pain is a different, more challenging problem. Still, he thinks VR has the potential to enhance many treatments that already work. “If you say, ‘go home and meditate,’ not many patients will follow through,” Hoffman says. “But if you give them a VR system and say ‘go into this ancient world and meditate with monks,’ they’re more likely to actually do it.” VR is just a delivery method: What matters most is what the patients see and experience on the other side of the headset.