Hunter Hoffman
Chilldren/adults with severe burn wounds often endure uncontrolled pain during wound care. Bandages are changed, and wounds cleaned frequently to prevent infection. Physical therapy skin stretching exercises can also be painful. Immersive virtual reality is proving valuable as an adjunctive non-pharmacologic analgesic. Patients "go into" the computer generated world to escape their pain. Results of controlled studies consistently show large reductions in how much pain patients experience during wound care and physical therapy, and fMRI brain scans show large reductions in pain-related brain activity during VR, comparable to the amount of pain reduction from a moderate dose of hydromorphone. Clinical studies in burn patients with combat-related burn injuries from roadside bombs suggest that VR distraction is most effective in patients who need it the most, those with worst pain intensity of 7 or higher on a zero to ten scale. Wide field of view VR goggles, and interacting with the virtual world enhance analgesic effectiveness Immersive VR goggles with wide field of view are on the verge of dropping to 1/1000ths the current price. What are the implications of the Oculus Rift? I will also briefly discuss some of my other research using SpiderWorld with tactile augmentation to treat spider phobics, and new research mixing meds and digits, exploring the use of virtual reality exposure therapy for civilian PostTraumatic Stress Disorder, in combination with drugs that accelerate fear extinction learning.