Virtual Reality has once again its worth beyond gaming and entertainment. Medical practitioners have resorted to VR when treating their patients. In many cases, it has replaced sedatives.
One heartening case happened in Stanford where a 10-year-old was comforted by VR when changing his dressings instead of giving him sedatives.
How it happened?
Little boy, Blaine Baxter, who had injured himself in a go-kart accident last year, had developed such a fear for painful dressings that he would be scared the moment he saw a doctor approaching. Then a team of pain management specialists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford recommended games on VR. They were such an effective distraction that he didn’t need sedation anymore. He went from being scared anytime the doctor approached his room to happily embarking on deep sea adventures and zapping burgers in outer space with VR.
The hospital is known to have spearheading a CHARIOT program short for Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology. The team works with developers to create games like Pebbles the Penguin, in which a luging penguin collects (you guessed it) pebbles, and Spaceburgers, in which players zap flying objects, including burgers, by staring them down.
Clinical studies supporting VR in treatments
A Cedars-Sinai study from last March involving 100 hospitalized patients found that those who watched calming videos on a VR headset reported a 24 percent drop in pain scores. The other 50 patients who watched a standard, 2D nature video with relaxing scenes on a nearby screen experienced only a 13.2 percent reduction in pain.
However, the medical officials are still wondering how VR is so effective at reducing pain.
A simple distraction is believed to be at play: The brain is so busy processing signals from VR that it has a hard time processing other signals, like pain.
The day seems pretty soon when VR will replace horde of medications being pumped in our system. VR will soon be come out of labs and be standing amongst the front line of medical community.