Virtual Realities May Protect Against Pain -- MEDICA Trade Fair

The ADTs simulate real-life situations, and the possibilities are infinite. For example, until now users could choose between taking a flight, driving, downhill skiing, exploring buildings and many more activities. In a study of the University of Barcelona, peer-reviewed publications on ADTs and pain have been reviewed to determine the clinical effectiveness and importance of using these techniques as analgesic. The results suggest that the ADTs can significantly reduce the pain associated with medical treatment.

The use of analgesic was clinically revealing in most cases, especially in patients with very high or unbearable levels of pain. It was found that levels of anxiety were reduced during the exposure, and the side effects, such as "simulator sickness", were hardly observed at all. Although some studies continue to focus mainly on the technological aspects and the effectiveness of ADTs, greater consideration is being given to psychological aspects. Several personality traits (such as absorption and dissociation) have been identified as important factors for determining the level of involvement of the users, possibly modulating the effectiveness of technological progress.

For example, some patients perceive a reduction in their visual field (due to the video helmet) and a loss of awareness of the activities of the medical practitioner, as well as a loss of control, leading to an increase in anxiety and pain; other patients see it as positive that they cannot see and perceive what the medical practitioner is doing.

The authors conclude that ADTs are very useful as analgesic, and can reduce the amount of analgesic administered. This new field of study can begin to move forward beyond its current initial phase by placing more emphasis on methodology and psychological aspects, say the scientists.; Source: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona