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Oct 06, 2006

DietMate Weight Loss Computer

Via Mindware Forum

dietmate weight-loss computer

DietMate is a hand-held computer that provides a program of weight loss, cholesterol reduction, and hypertension control. DietMate is made by Personal Improvement Computer Systems (PICS), which also makes two other tiny computerized mindgadgets: SleepKey Insomnia Treatment Hand-held Computer and the QuitKey Smoking Cessation Hand-Held Computer.

From the PICS website:

DietMate provides a sophisticated, yet easy to use, nutrition and exercise program that is tailored to each user's nutritional requirements, food preferences, and habits. By providing hundreds of nutritionally balanced menus which can be customized as desired, DietMate picks up where calorie counters leave off.

DietMate also tracks calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It provides daily nutritional targets, charts progress and even creates a shopping list. DietMate has been proven effective in both weight and cholesterol reduction, in clinical studies funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Sep 27, 2006

Frequency of stuttering during virtual reality job interviews

Frequency of stuttering during challenging and supportive virtual reality job interviews.

J Fluency Disord. 2006 Sep 23;

Authors: Brundage SB, Graap K, Gibbons KF, Ferrer M, Brooks J

This paper seeks to demonstrate the possibility of manipulating the frequency of stuttering using virtual reality environments (VREs). If stuttering manifests itself in VREs similarly to the way it manifests itself in real world interactions, then VREs can provide a controlled, safe, and confidential method for treatment practice and generalization. Though many researchers and clinicians recognize the need for generalization activities in the treatment of stuttering, achieving generalization in a clinical setting poses challenges to client confidentiality, safety, and the efficient use of a professionals' time. Virtual reality (VR) technology may allow professionals the opportunity to enhance and assess treatment generalization while protecting the safety and confidentiality of their clients. In this study, we developed a VR job interview environment which allowed experimental control over communication style and gender of interviewers. In this first trial, persons who stutter (PWS) experienced both challenging and supportive VR job interview conditions. The percentage of stuttered syllables was calculated for both interviews for each participant. Self-reported ratings of communication apprehension and confidence were also obtained, and were not significantly correlated with stuttering severity. Results indicated that interviewer communication style affected the amount of stuttering produced by participants, with more stuttering observed during challenging virtual interviews. Additionally, the amount of stuttering observed during the VR job interviews was significantly, positively correlated with the amount of stuttering observed during an interview with the investigator prior to VR exposure. Participants' subjective reports of the VR experience indicate reactions similar to those they report experiencing in the real world. Possible implications for the use of VR in the assessment and treatment of stuttering are discussed. Educational objectives: After reading this article, the reader will be able to-(1) list some of the challenges to treatment generalization; (2) describe how virtual reality technology can assist in alleviating some of these challenges; (3) describe how the frequency of stuttering varies across two different virtual environments.

Sep 26, 2006

Gametrack: a new device for virtual rehabilitation?

Via VR Geek

The Gametrak is a real 3DOF tracker, which can be used with both hands. According to the company, the system is able to calculate the exact position in 3D space, with a spatial resolution of 1 millimetre anywhere within a 3m cube around the unit, with no processor overhead or time delay (that seems quite unrealistic to me, but if they write it...)

Strings attached to the user's hands allows the system to measure the distance and angles from the base item on the ground; these information are used to calculate the x,y, and z coordinates of the hands.

Given these features, the Gametrack system could be effectively applied in post-stroke rehabilitation of the upper limb and in other computer-based programs for neurorehabilitation. In fact, the Gametrack can be easily programmed and adapted to existing applications. Further, the cost of the device is very cheap (about 30€) if compared to other virtual rehabilitation hardware.    

If any Positive Technology reader wishes to try the system for rehabilitation purposes, we would be very interested in knowing the results  

See The Original Gametrak Promotional Video


Sep 20, 2006

VR therapy vs (in Vivo) therapy in the treatment of fear of flying

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy and Standard (in Vivo) Exposure Therapy in the Treatment of Fear of Flying.

Behav Ther. 2006 Mar;37(1):80-90

Authors: Rothbaum BO, Anderson P, Zimand E, Hodges L, Lang D, Wilson J

This controlled clinical trial tested virtual reality exposure (VRE) therapy for the fear of flying (FOF), a relatively new and innovative way to do exposure therapy, and compared it to standard (in vivo) exposure therapy (SE) and a wait list (WL) control with a 6- and 12-month follow-up. Eighty-three participants with FOF were randomly assigned to VRE, SE, or WL. Seventy-five participants, 25 per group, completed the study. Twenty-three WL participants completed randomly assigned treatment following the waiting period. Treatment consisted of 4 sessions of anxiety management training followed either by exposure to a virtual airplane (VRE) or an actual airplane at the airport (SE) conducted over 6 weeks. Results indicate that VRE was superior to WL on all measures, including willingness to fly on the posttreatment flight (76% for VRE and SE; 20% for WL). VRE and SE were essentially equivalent on standardized questionnaires, willingness to fly, anxiety ratings during the flight, self-ratings of improvement, and patient satisfaction with treatment. Follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months indicated that treatment gains were maintained, with more than 70% of respondents from both groups reporting continued flying at follow-up. Based on these findings, the use of VRE in the treatment of FOF was supported in this controlled study, suggesting that experiences in the virtual world can change experiences in the real world.

Sep 18, 2006

Learning to perform a new movement with robotic assistance

Learning to perform a new movement with robotic assistance: comparison of haptic guidance and visual demonstration

By J Liu, SC Cramer and DJ Reinkensmeyer

Background: Mechanical guidance with a robotic device is a candidate technique for teaching people desired movement patterns during motor rehabilitation, surgery, and sports training, but it is unclear how effective this approach is as compared to visual demonstration alone. Further, little is known about motor learning and retention involved with either robot-mediated mechanical guidance or visual demonstration alone. Methods: Healthy subjects (n = 20) attempted to reproduce a novel three-dimensional path after practicing it with mechanical guidance from a robot. Subjects viewed their arm as the robot guided it, so this "haptic guidance" training condition provided both somatosensory and visual input. Learning was compared to reproducing the movement following only visual observation of the robot moving along the path, with the hand in the lap (the "visual demonstration" training condition). Retention was assessed periodically by instructing the subjects to reproduce the path without robotic demonstration. Results: Subjects improved in ability to reproduce the path following practice in the haptic guidance or visual demonstration training conditions, as evidenced by a 30–40% decrease in spatial error across 126 movement attempts in each condition. Performance gains were not significantly different between the two techniques, but there was a nearly significant trend for the visual demonstration condition to be better than the haptic guidance condition (p = 0.09). The 95% confidence interval of the mean difference between the techniques was at most 25% of the absolute error in the last cycle. When asked to reproduce the path repeatedly following either training condition, the subjects' performance degraded significantly over the course of a few trials. The tracing errors were not random, but instead were consistent with a systematic evolution toward another path, as if being drawn to an "attractor path". Conclusion: These results indicate that both forms of robotic demonstration can improve short-term performance of a novel desired path. The availability of both haptic and visual input during the haptic guidance condition did not significantly improve performance compared to visual input alone in the visual demonstration condition. Further, the motor system is inclined to repeat its previous mistakes following just a few movements without robotic demonstration, but these systematic errors can be reduced with periodic training.

Sep 17, 2006

VR & fear of flying: Cognitive behavior therapy for fear of flying: sustainability of treatment gains after september 11

Cognitive behavior therapy for fear of flying: sustainability of treatment gains after september 11.

Behav Ther. 2006 Mar;37(1):91-7

Authors: Anderson P, Jacobs CH, Lindner GK, Edwards S, Zimand E, Hodges L, Rothbaum BO

This study examines the long-term efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for fear of flying (FOF) after a catastrophic fear-relevant event, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Participants (N = 115) were randomly assigned to and completed treatment for FOF using 8 sessions of either virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) or standard exposure therapy (SE) prior to September 11, 2001. Individuals were reassessed in June, 2002, an average of 2.3 years after treatment, with a response rate of 48% (n = 55). Analyses were run on the original data and, using multiple imputation procedures, on imputed data for the full sample. Individuals maintained or improved upon gains made in treatment as measured by standardized FOF questionnaires and by number of flights taken. There were no differences between VRE and SE. Thus, results suggest that individuals previously treated for FOF with cognitive-behavioral therapy can maintain treatment gains in the face of a catastrophic fear-relevant event, even years after treatment is completed.

Cognitive behavior therapy for fear of flying: sustainability of treatment gains after september 11

Cognitive behavior therapy for fear of flying: sustainability of treatment gains after september 11.

Behav Ther. 2006 Mar;37(1):91-7

Authors: Anderson P, Jacobs CH, Lindner GK, Edwards S, Zimand E, Hodges L, Rothbaum BO

This study examines the long-term efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for fear of flying (FOF) after a catastrophic fear-relevant event, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Participants (N = 115) were randomly assigned to and completed treatment for FOF using 8 sessions of either virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) or standard exposure therapy (SE) prior to September 11, 2001. Individuals were reassessed in June, 2002, an average of 2.3 years after treatment, with a response rate of 48% (n = 55). Analyses were run on the original data and, using multiple imputation procedures, on imputed data for the full sample. Individuals maintained or improved upon gains made in treatment as measured by standardized FOF questionnaires and by number of flights taken. There were no differences between VRE and SE. Thus, results suggest that individuals previously treated for FOF with cognitive-behavioral therapy can maintain treatment gains in the face of a catastrophic fear-relevant event, even years after treatment is completed.

Using VR as an assessment tool in schizofrenia

A Virtual Reality Apartment as a Measure of Medication Management Skills in Patients With Schizophrenia: A Pilot Study.

Schizophr Bull. 2006 Sep 6;

Authors: Kurtz MM, Baker E, Pearlson GD, Astur RS

Performance on a novel, virtual reality (VR) assessment of medication management skills, the Virtual Reality Apartment Medication Management Assessment (VRAMMA), was investigated in 25 patients with schizophrenia and 18 matched healthy controls. The VRAMMA is a virtual 4-room apartment consisting of a living room with an interactive clock and TV, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom with an interactive medicine cabinet. After an exploratory phase, participants were given a mock prescription regimen to be taken 15 minutes later from pill bottles located in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom of the virtual environment. The VRAMMA was administered with a validated measure of medication management skills, several neurocognitive tests, and a symptom scale. Results revealed that (1) schizophrenic patients made significantly more quantitative errors in the number of pills taken, were less accurate at taking the prescribed medications at the designated time, and checked the interactive clock less frequently than healthy controls; (2) in patients with schizophrenia, there was significant agreement in classification of adherence vs nonadherence between a validated measure of medication management skills and the VRAMMA; and (3) in patients with schizophrenia, years of education and a measure of verbal learning and memory were linked to quantitative errors on the VRAMMA, while positive symptoms, specifically delusional symptoms, were inversely linked to distance traveled within the VRAMMA. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to provide evidence for the utility of VR technology in the assessment of instrumental role functioning in patients with schizophrenia.

Transformation of flow in rehabilitation

Transformation of flow in rehabilitation: the role of advanced communication technologies.

Behav Res Methods. 2006 May;38(2):237-44

Authors: Riva G, Castelnuovo G, Mantovani F

Authentic rehabilitation requires the active participation of patients and their involvement with opportunities for action and development. Within this framework, in this article we outline the possibility of using two emerging computing and communication technologies-ambient intelligence (AmI) and virtual reality (VR)--for a new breed of rehabilitative and clinical applications based on a strategy defined as transformation of flow. Transformation of flow is a person's ability to exploit an optimal (flow) experience to identify and use new and unexpected psychological resources as sources of involvement. We identify the feeling of presence--the feeling of being in a world that exists outside oneself--as the theoretical link between the technology and rehabilitation. AmI and VR are used to trigger broad empowerment processes induced by a strong sense of presence, leading to greater agency and control over one's actions and environment.

Sep 16, 2006

Video game-based exercises for balance rehabilitation

Video game-based exercises for balance rehabilitation: a single-subject design.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006 Aug;87(8):1141-9

Authors: Betker AL, Szturm T, Moussavi ZK, Nett C

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether coupling foot center of pressure (COP)-controlled video games to standing balance exercises will improve dynamic balance control and to determine whether the motivational and challenging aspects of the video games would increase a subject's desire to perform the exercises and complete the rehabilitation process. DESIGN: Case study, pre- and postexercise. SETTING: University hospital outpatient clinic. PARTICIPANTS: A young adult with excised cerebellar tumor, 1 middle-aged adult with single right cerebrovascular accident, and 1 middle-aged adult with traumatic brain injury. INTERVENTION: A COP-controlled, video game-based exercise system. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The following were calculated during 12 different tasks: the number of falls, range of COP excursion, and COP path length. RESULTS: Postexercise, subjects exhibited a lower fall count, decreased COP excursion limits for some tasks, increased practice volume, and increased attention span during training. CONCLUSIONS: The COP-controlled video game-based exercise regime motivated subjects to increase their practice volume and attention span during training. This in turn improved subjects' dynamic balance control.

Aug 02, 2006

Home-based sensors could detect early signs of dementia

Via Medgadget 

According to a study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University researchers, continuous, unobtrusive monitoring of in-home activity may be a reliable way of assessing changes in motor behaviors that may occur along with changes in memory. The study was presented last week at the 10th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Madrid.

From the university's press release:

"To see a trend over time, you need multiple measures - good days and bad days - and it often takes years to see that trend in a clinic setting," said Tamara Hayes, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering at OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering, and the study's lead author. She noted that most clinic visits by elders are spaced over months or even years, and their memory and motor skills performances are evaluated in a small number of tests completed in a limited amount of time.

"In contrast, we're looking continuously at elders' activity in their own homes," Hayes said. "Since we're measuring a person's activity many times over a short period, we can understand their normal variability and identify trends. If there's a change over a period, you can see it quickly. "

Mild cognitive impairment is a known risk factor for dementia, a neurological disorder most commonly caused by Alzheimer's disease. Changes in clinical measures of activity, such as walking and finger-tapping speeds, have been shown to occur at about the same time as memory changes leading to dementia. By detecting subtle activity changes over time in the natural setting of an elder's home, researchers hope to more effectively identify when elders are starting to have trouble.

Animation can be outlet for victimized children, a tool for research

From the University of Illinois press release 
Animation is a proven vehicle for biting comedy, a la "The Simpsons" and "South Park." But some of the same qualities that make it work for comedy make it valuable, too, as an outlet for victimized children and for a new research method that tests the empathy of teachers who may deal with them, says Sharon Tettegah, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tettegah believes so strongly in the value of animation – specifically “animated narrative vignette simulations” – that she sought out a computer science professor at Illinois, Brian Bailey, to help develop her concept for a child-friendly program for producing them.

The program that resulted, called Clover, gives children, as well as adults, a tool for making and sharing their own vignettes about their personal and sometimes painful stories.

According to Tettegah, the program is the only one she is aware of that allows the user to write the narrative, script the dialogue, storyboard the graphics and add voice and animation, all within one application. Those four major aspects of producing a vignette gave rise to the name “Clover,” the plant considered to bring good luck in its four-leaf form.

A paper about Clover, written by Bailey, Tettegah and graduate student Terry Bradley, has been published in the July issue of the journal Interacting With Computers.

In other research, Tettegah has used animations as a tool for gauging the empathy of teachers and others who might deal with children and their stories of victimization. One study with college education majors, or teachers-in-training, showed only one in 10 expressing a high degree of empathy for the victim, she said.

A paper about that study has been accepted by the journal Contemporary Educational Psychology (CEP), with publication slated for later this year. The co-author of the study is Carolyn Anderson, a professor of educational psychology at Illinois.

Aug 01, 2006

Drinking Games

Via Medgadget

Miles Cox, professor of the psychology of addictive behaviors at the University of Wales, is experimenting a computer-based approach to get alcoholics to ignore the potent cues that trigger their craving. The study has been covered by MIT Technology Review:

Just as these responses can be conditioned, they can also be de-conditioned, reasons Cox. His computer program helps abusers deal with the sight of alcohol, since it's often the first cue they experience in daily life. The program presents a series of pictures, beginning with an alcohol bottle inside a thick, colored frame. As fast as they can, users must identify the color of the frame. As users get faster, the test gets harder: the frame around the bottles becomes thinner. Finally, an alcohol bottle appears next to a soda bottle, both inside colored frames. Users must identify the color of the circle around the soda. The tasks teach users to "ignore the alcohol bottle" in increasingly difficult situations, says Cox.

Such tests have long been used to study attention phenomena in alcohol abusers, but they have never been used for therapy, says Cox. His group adapted the test for this new purpose by adding elements of traditional therapy. Before the tests, users set goals on how quickly they want to react; a counselor makes sure the goals are achievable. After each session, users see how well they did. The positive feedback boosts users' motivation and mood, Cox says.


Find more on the ESRC study page


Computer's schizophrenia diagnosis inspired by the brain

Via New Scientist 

University of California at San Francisco researchers may have created a computerized diagnostic tool utilizing MRI based technology for determining whether someone has schizophrenia. From New Scientist
"Raymond Deicken at the University of California at San Francisco and colleagues have been studying the amino acid Nacetylaspartate (NAA). They found that levels of NAA in the thalamus region of the brain are lower in people with schizophrenia than in those without.

To find out whether software could diagnose the condition from NAA levels, the team used a technique based on magnetic resonance imaging to measure NAA levels at a number of points within the thalamus of 18 people, half of whom had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Antony Browne of the University of Surrey, UK, then analysed these measurements using an artificial neural network, a program that processes information by learning to recognise patterns in large amounts of data in a similar way to neurons in the brain.

Browne trained his network on the measurements of 17 of the volunteers to teach it which of the data sets corresponded to schizophrenia and which did not. He then asked the program to diagnose the status of the remaining volunteer, based on their NAA measurements. He ran the experiment 18 times, each time withholding a different person's measurements. The program diagnosed the patients with 100 per cent accuracy."


Technorati Profile

Jul 31, 2006

Applications of Virtual Reality Technology in the Measurement of Spatial Memory in Patients with Mood Disorders

In a letter to the Editor published in the current issue of CNS Spectr (2006 Jun; 11, 6), Holmes and coll. describe a novel VR-based paradigm to test spatial memory in patients with mood disorders.
Here is an excerpt from the letter:
The January 2006 CNS Spectrums included an article about virtual reality (VR) technology as a treatment option in psychiatry and Dr. Gorman welcomed letters discussing novel applications of VR in psychiatry. Much of the published work in this area is treatment-related. It appears that a limited number of researchers have considered using this technology for clinical assessment and research purposes. This is likely to change as immersive VR shows promise for increasing  ecological validity in assessment  and providing a much richer set of behavioural data.

In collaboration with the Informatics Research Institute (IRI) at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, we are assessing the validity of this approach. The IRI manages an immersive VR suite, and our collaboration has allowed us to develop a novel paradigm to test spatial memory in patients with mood disorders. Our interest in spatial memory in this group stems from neuroimaging research reporting atrophy in the hippocampal region for patients with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. The hippocampus is involved in spatial memory, and individuals with hippocampal lesions are impaired on tasks of spatial memory.

The full text of the letter, including references, can be accessed here 

May 18, 2006

Special issue of CyberPsychology & Behavior on Virtual Rehabilitation

CyberPsychology & Behavior
Volume 9, Number 2, Apr 2006

The above issue is now available online from Liebert Online at:

The table of contents for this issue is listed below. Click on the links below to view the abstract for each article, or click on the link above to read the table of contents online.

State of the Art in Virtual Rehabilitation

Albert "Skip" Rizzo
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 113-113.


TIES that BIND: An Introduction to Domain Mapping as a Visualization Tool for Virtual Rehabilitation

Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss, Rochelle Kedar, Meir Shahar CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 114-122.


Feasibility, Motivation, and Selective Motor Control: Virtual Reality Compared to Conventional Home Exercise in Children with Cerebral Palsy

C. Bryanton, J. Bosse, M. Brien, J. Mclean, A. McCormick, H. Sveistrup
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 123-128.


Integrating Haptic-Tactile Feedback into a Video-Capture-Based Virtual Environment for Rehabilitation

Uri Feintuch, Liat Raz, Jane Hwang, Naomi Josman, Noomi Katz, Rachel Kizony, Debbie Rand, Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Meir Shahar, Jang Yongseok, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 129-132.


Reaching within Video-Capture Virtual Reality: Using Virtual Reality as a Motor Control Paradigm

Assaf Y. Dvorkin, Meir Shahar, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 133-136.


Virtual Reality in the Rehabilitation of the Upper Limb after Stroke: The User?s Perspective

J.H. Crosbie, S. Lennon, M.D.J. McNeill, S.M. McDonough
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 137-141.


Usability of the Remote Console for Virtual Reality Telerehabilitation: Formative Evaluation

Jeffrey A. Lewis, Judith E. Deutsch, Grigore Burdea
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 142-147.


The Rutgers Arm, a Rehabilitation System in Virtual Reality: A Pilot Study

Manjuladevi Kuttuva, Rares Boian, Alma Merians, Grigore Burdea, Mourad Bouzit, Jeffrey Lewis, Devin Fensterheim
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 148-152.


Responses to a Virtual Reality Grocery Store in Persons with and without Vestibular Dysfunction

Susan L. Whitney, Patrick J. Sparto, Larry F. Hodges, Sabarish V. Babu, Joseph M. Furman, Mark S. Redfern
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 152-156.


A Treadmill and Motion Coupled Virtual Reality System for Gait Training Post-Stroke

Joyce Fung, Carol L. Richards, Francine Malouin, Bradford J. McFadyen, Anouk Lamontagne
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 157-162.


Influences of the Perception of Self-Motion on Postural Parameters

E.A. Keshner, K. Dokka, R.V. Kenyon
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 163-166.


Immersive Virtual Reality as a Rehabilitative Technology for Phantom Limb Experience: A Protocol

Craig D. Murray, Emma Patchick, Stephen Pettifer, Fabrice Caillette, Toby Howard
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 167-170.


Motor Training in the Manipulation of Flexible Objects in Haptic Environments

I. Goncharenko, M. Svinin, Y. Kanou, S. Hosoe
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 171-174.


Using Virtual Environment to Improve Spatial Perception by People Who Are Blind

Orly Lahav
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 174-177.


The Jerusalem TeleRehabilitation System, a New Low-Cost, Haptic Rehabilitation Approach

Heidi Sugarman, Ehud Dayan, Aviva Weisel-Eichler, Joseph Tiran
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 178-182.


Human Experience Modeler: Context-Driven Cognitive Retraining to Facilitate Transfer of Learning

C.M. Fidopiastis, C.B. Stapleton, J.D. Whiteside, C.E. Hughes, S.M. Fiore, G.A. Martin, J.P. Rolland, E.M. Smith
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 183-187.


Application of Virtual Reality Graphics in Assessment of Concussion

Semyon Slobounov, Elena Slobounov, Karl Newell
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 188-191.


Virtual Reality Pencil and Paper Tests for Neglect: AProtocol

Kenji Baheux, Makoto Yoshizawa, Kazunori Seki, Yasunobu Handa
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 192-195.


Virtual and Physical Toys: Open-Ended Features for Non-Formal Learning

Eva Petersson, Anthony Brooks
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 196-199.


Three-Dimensional Virtual Environments for Blind Children

Jaime Sanchez, Mauricio Saenz
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 200-206.


Effectiveness of Virtual Reality for Pediatric Pain Distraction during IV Placement

Jeffrey I. Gold, Seok Hyeon Kim, Alexis J. Kant, Michael H. Joseph, Albert "Skip" Rizzo
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 207-212.


Simulating Social Interaction to Address Deficits of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children

Cheryl Y. Trepagnier, Marc M. Sebrechts, Andreas Finkelmeyer, Willie Stewart, Jordana Woodford, Maya Coleman
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 213-217.


Starting Research in Interaction Design with Visuals for Low-Functioning Children in the Autistic Spectrum: A Protocol

Narcis Pares, Anna Carreras, Jaume Durany, Jaume Ferrer, Pere Freixa, David Gomez, Orit Kruglanski, Roc Pares, J. Ignasi Ribas, Miquel Soler, Alex Sanjurjo
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 218-223.


Virtual Reality Assessment of Medication Compliance in Patients with Schizophrenia

Elizabeth K. Baker, Matthew M. Kurtz, Robert S. Astur
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 224-229.


Reality Check: The Role of Realism in Stress Reduction Using Media Technology

Y.A.W. de Kort, W.A. Ijsselsteijn
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 230-233.


Hippocampus Function Predicts Severity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Robert S. Astur, Sarah A. St. Germain, David Tolin, Julian Ford, David Russell, Mike Stevens
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 234-240.


BusWorld: Designing a Virtual Environment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Israel: A Protocol

Naomi Josman, Eli Somer, Ayelet Reisberg, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss, Azucena Garcia-Palacios, Hunter Hoffman
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 241-244.


Simulation and Virtual Reality in Medical Education and Therapy: A Protocol

Michael J. Roy, Deborah L. Sticha, Patricia L. Kraus, Dale E. Olsen
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 245-247.


Virtual Reality Applications to Agoraphobia: A Protocol

Georgina Cardenas, Sandra Munoz, Maribel Gonzalez, Guillermo Uribarren
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 248-250.



Albert "Skip" Rizzo
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 251-257.



Giuseppe Riva, Alessandra Preziosa
CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 9, No. 2: 258-260.


May 16, 2006

Building a Playground of Light

Via Wired



Innovations from NYU's technology program include a digital projector that turns the walls and floor of a therapist's office into an interactive game space. The goal: keeps kids engaged.

Read the full story 


May 10, 2006

VR-based schizophrenia training program

Via VRoot.org



Janssen Pharmaceutical, a manufacturer of prescription medications for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar mania, has developed a schizophrenia training program based on virtual reality technology.

In the program, the participant chooses a virtual experience and is led through a range of visual and auditory hallucinations during a ride on a bus, a trip to the doctor's office or a trip to a pharmacy located in the back of grocery store.

In the virtual program simulating a trip to the pharmacy, the participant hears voices popping in and out of their head. Some are soft, some loud -- even yelling -- and many of them are paranoid. People stare at you from every aisle, some seem to be able to read your mind, others are afraid of you. A person in a television monitor screams at you. As you get to the pharmacy counter you can hear the pharmacists whispering and laughing and then they hand you a prescription of what looks like "poison," with a big scull and cross bones on the bottle's label.

May 07, 2006

Virtual reality immersion method of distraction to control experimental ischemic pain

Virtual reality immersion method of distraction to control experimental ischemic pain.

Isr Med Assoc J. 2006 Apr;8(4):261-5

Authors: Magora F, Cohen S, Shochina M, Dayan E

BACKGROUND: Virtual reality immersion has been advocated as a new effective adjunct to drugs for pain control. The attenuation of pain perception and unpleasantness has been attributed to the patient's attention being diverted from the real, external environment through immersion in a virtual environment transmitted by an interactive 3-D software computer program via a VR helmet. OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether VR immersion can extend the amount of time subjects can tolerate ischemic tourniquet pain. METHODS: The study group comprised 20 healthy adult volunteers. The pain was induced by an inflated blood pressure cuff during two separate, counterbalanced, randomized experimental conditions for each subject: one with VR and the control without VR exposure. The VR equipment consisted of a standard computer, a lightweight helmet and an interactive software game. RESULTS: Tolerance time to ischemia was significantly longer for VR conditions than for those without (P < 0.001). Visual Analogue Scale (0-10) ratings were recorded for pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and the time spent thinking about pain. Affective distress ratings of unpleasantness and of time spent thinking about pain were significantly lower during VR as compared with the control condition (P< 0.003 and 0.001 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The VR method in pain control was shown to be beneficial. The relatively inexpensive equipment will facilitate the use of VR immersion in clinical situations. Future research is necessary to establish the optimal selection of clinical patients appropriate for VR pain therapy and the type of software required according to age, gender, personality, and cultural factors.

New implantable device system for stroke rehabilitation

Via Medgadget 

The US company Northstar Neuroscience is developing an implantable device system intended to enhance neuroplasticity and recovery of function in patients status post stroke.




From the company's website:

Following a stroke, the only proven treatment currently available for patients with hemiparesis (motor deficits) or aphasia (speech deficits) is rehabilitative therapy. Unfortunately, many patients do not achieve satisfactory functional improvement from rehabilitative therapy. There is considerable evidence that the brain can undergo significant repair and recovery after an injury such as a stroke by a process termed neuroplasticity.

As reported in numerous scientific publications, neuroplasticity involves the recruitment of existing alternative neural pathways and the development of new synaptic connections, i.e., reorganization of the brain circuitry. Within hours after a stroke, the brain will begin to recruit existing alternative neural pathways in an attempt to meet functional demands. Over time and with use, there is an increase in the density of connections between the neurons that comprise these neural pathways. However, natural gains in motor recovery and speech generally plateau within several months after a stroke, with many stroke survivors achieving only minimal recovery of function...

Together, we have demonstrated that cortical stimulation of the healthy brain tissue adjacent to the "stroke," in combination with rehabilitation, enhances motor recovery and suggests that cortical stimulation for stroke patients may facilitate neuroplasticity...

The Northstar Stroke Recovery System is comprised of the following components:

-- Implantable pulse generator (IPG) - an electrical stimulator that is implanted in the pectoral (upper chest) area.

-- Cortical stimulation lead - an electrode connected to the IPG, which is used to deliver stimulation to the cortex. The electrode is placed on top of the dura, which is the membrane that covers the brain's surface.

-- Programming system - a handheld computer attached to a programming device which allows communication with the implanted IPG device. This system allows the clinician to turn the device on/off and to set/modify stimulation parameters