Anxiety and depression make handling everyday life more difficult, but it seems these conditions also make healing from surgery considerably harder. That’s according to a large study of individuals undergoing four types of surgeries, experiencing a range of depression and anxiety symptoms.
The study included just under 177,000 patients having hip replacement, knee replacement, hernia and varicose vein surgeries over a two-year period. The researchers were careful to account for factors that typically influence surgery outcomes, including other health conditions, demographics, complexity of the procedure and when it was performed.
The results show that after taking into account all of those factors, patients with moderate anxiety or depression were more likely to have wound complications and to be readmitted to the hospital, and on average had longer hospital stays. Those with more severe anxiety and depression tended to have worse complications.
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You’ve heard of virtual reality, maybe you’ve even tried Google Cardboard, but the world of augmented and mixed reality is still a mystery, as is its potential impact on healthcare delivery. Justin Barad breaks down what physicians need to know.
In 2012 a Kickstarter launched for a virtual reality headset called the Oculus Rift. The campaign raised $2.4 million – shooting past its $250,000 goal. What started as a garage-based pet project has turned into a worldwide phenomenon and two new computing platforms: Virtual and augmented reality. The market for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is projected to reach $160 billion by 2020. One of the major useful applications for this technology is in the area of healthcare. In this article, I will try and list a few of the interesting uses of VR and AR in medicine which I have broken down into therapeutics, visualization, surgical navigation, patient education, training, telepresence, telementoring, and workflow/EMR-integration.
By Justin Barad | Telemedicine Magazine
Image Credit: Osso VR
Seniors probably aren’t the first demographic that comes to mind when you think of virtual reality. But a few groups in Canada believe a dose of VR might just make the perfect medicine.
Researchers in different parts of the country are looking into how VR can be prescribed to elderly patients to rehabilitate them from things like strokes, treat depression, dementia and anxiety, and serve as an escape from their hospital or hospice beds.
Lora Appel, a researcher with OpenLab at Toronto General Hospital, has been focusing her VR research efforts on seniors with dementia. Some of these patients don’t get to go outside much because they like to wander — and that can be dangerous.
By Haydn Watters | CBC News
Photo submitted by Lora Appel (University Health Network)
The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has teamed with a nonprofit on a virtual reality initiative for patients in the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer program at USC (AYA@USC).
The initiative aims to provide a library of curated cinematic and interactive VR experiences using the most advanced media technology available to lessen a patient’s discomfort and anxiety with quality entertainment.
“The AYA@USC program aims to heal the whole person, not just the cancer,” said David Freyer, professor of clinical pediatrics and medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and co-director of AYA@USC. “The Virtual Reality Patient Initiative will provide an important emotional benefit to our patients that cannot be achieved through medicine alone.”
Photo/Courtesy of Springbok Cares
Virtual reality has the ability to take sick children from their hospital beds to far-away worlds, under the sea or on a rollercoaster, so where do they want to go?
“The young kids at The Alfred’s oncology ward told us they just wanted to be ‘anywhere but here’,” virtual reality maker Trent Clews-De Castella told The Huffington Post Australia.
He is co-creator of virtual reality company Phoria, that is creating experiences specifically for sick children in hospitals, thanks to a new grant from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
“We’re realising we don’t need to reinvent the wheel in terms of experiences so we’re looking at what’s proven in the medical space to have therapeutic benefits,” Clews De-Castella said.
Virtual reality has become a legitimate technological platform for improving healthcare, Daniel Kraft, MD, chairman of the Exponential Medicine Conference, recently explained to Worrell Design.
Here are the four major ways Kraft sees virtual reality being used in medicine:
1. Pain management. Just over the summer, AppliedVR announced a partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to bring virtual reality content to patients in the hospital’s orthopedic, spine, and surgery center. The whole idea is to help patients manage pain by distracting them with an interactive world full of games.
The next time you have a headache, a Swedish pharmacy wants you to strap on a virtual reality headset and pretend you’re sitting next to a campfire by a lake in Sweden, watching the Northern Lights as night falls.
The pharmacy, Apotek Hjärtat, designed a free VR app for pain relief called Happy Place.
“Pain prevention is not just pharmaceuticals,” says Annika Svedberg, head pharmacist at Apotek Hjärtat. “There are alternative ways to treat pain, for example with exercise or massage. With Happy Place, we wanted to offer people the opportunity to try a completely new way to manage their pain.”
Several independent studies show that virtual reality can help the brain stop focusing on physical pain. One early VR game called SnowWorld helped burn victims reduce the amount of time they spent thinking about pain from 76% to 22%—even when the pain was severe. The VR equipment used in SnowWorldstudies costs tens of thousands of dollars. Now, mass-market headsets are making VR pain relief more accessible.