This month in VR we have selected the following papers

We have started the year strong in the VR scientific community and some good papers are being published already on different areas such as pain control, depression, anxiety, ADHD, mindfulness and many more.

We have selected the following ones because of their relevance to clinical daily practice and the quality of the research conducted on them.

You can access the abstract in PubMed via the link but some of them will have a paywall for their full versions.

We hope that you find them as interesting as we did.

On the first paper “Virtual Reality Relaxation to Decrease Dental Anxiety: Immediate Effect Randomized Clinical Trial” Lahti and colleagues conducted a RCT in a final sample of 255 patients to explore the use of a short video of a peaceful virtual landscape of less than 3 minutes with the intention of reducing pre-operative dental anxiety. The study shows that a “Short application of VRR is both feasible and effective to reduce preoperative dental anxiety in public dental care settings”. 

The second paper “Immersive virtual reality as analgesia for women during hysterosalpingography: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial” is very useful to see a design for a RCT in which the researchers will attempt to establish the role of VR as a low-cost intervention to provide analgesia to women undergoing an uncomfortable and painful gynaecological procedure. If it works, distraction through immersive VR has the potential to become a non-pharmacological intervention for surgical procedures.

Chirico et al decided to look at the impact of VR on anxiety, depression and fatigue in patients receiving chemotherapy on their paper “Virtual reality and music therapy as distraction interventions to alleviate anxiety and improve mood states in breast cancer patients during chemotherapy” and compared its effect with music therapy and with those receiving standard care. Both interventions, MT and VR, performed better in alleviating these symptoms, with VR showing a larger effect on them.

On our final selected paper “Effectiveness of virtual reality on balance ability in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury: A systematic review” the authors conducted a systematic review on the effectiveness of virtual reality on balance ability in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury. The result of their review suggests that 12 to 20 sessions of 30 to 60 min of VR training may show meaningful effects on the balance ability in patients with incomplete SCI.

Overall, the evidence of the effectiveness of VR in pain control and mood disorder symptoms continues to build up, while encouraging data on other therapy areas such as neurology emerges, showing VR as a promising additional treatment option for some patients.

Dr Ricardo Sáinz Fuertes

Chief Medical Officer

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