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Virtual Reality Pain Reduction
made possible by funding from the following major benefactors (and also local
private donations raised by Ross Chambers and Melody Burson).
And by the
virtual reality pain distraction was originated and developed by Hoffman &
Patterson at the Univ., of
All images on this webpage are copyrighted. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for permission.
Photo on right shows a patient using U.W. HITLab/Harborvview’s SnowWorld pain distraction at Shriners Children’s Burn Center Galveston. UW designer/researcher Hunter Hoffman’s latest version of SnowWorld was created for the UW by gifted worldbuilders at www.Imprintit.com :<![if !vml]><![endif]><![if !vml]><![endif]> using www.Virtools.com Virtual World Development Software.
immersive SNOWWORLD FOR YOURSELF at the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, Jan
26-April 20,, 2008. VR Pain Control
environment is on display as part of the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Triennial Design
Exhibition: Design Life Now (a touring museum exhibit). SnowWorld was on exhibit
at Cooper Hewitt on museum row in Manhattan New York City, at
The University of Washington Harborview Burn Center, directed by Dr. Nicole Gibran, is a regional burn center. Patients with severe burns from 5 surrounding states are sent to Harborview for special care. Harborview has pioneered a number of advanced treatments (e.g., early skin grafting). As a result of advances here and elsewhere, the chances of surviving a bad burn, and quality of living for survivors has improved dramatically over the past 20 years.
Unfortunately, the amount of pain and suffering experienced by patients during wound care remains a worldwide problem for burn victims as well as a number of other patient populations.
As can be seen from the left figure below, when patients are resting (most of the time), opioids (morphine and morphine-related chemicals) are adequate for controlling their burn pain (few patients are in the red zone).
In sharp contrast, during wound care such as daily bandage changes, wound cleaning, staple removals etc., opioids are not enough, not even close. As shown in the figure on the right above, over 86% of the burn patients reported having severe to excruciating pain during wound care (shown in red), even when standard levels of opioids were used. The pain management techniques in use are not good enough. Patients are suffering, a fact particularly disturbing when the patients are children.
David Patterson, Ph.D, and Sam Sharar, MD shown below\
<![if !vml]><![endif]>In 1996, Hunter Hoffman and David Patterson co-originated the new technique of using immersive VR for pain control and began collaborating with Sam Sharar, MD shortly thereafter. Hunter is a VR researcher from the U.W. Human Interface Technology Laboratory with a background in human cognition and attention. Since 1993 he has been exploring ways to increase the illusion of going inside virtual worlds (presence), how VR affects allocation of attentional resources, and therapeutic applications of VR.
David R. Patterson studies psychological techniques (e.g., hypnosis) for
reducing severe acute burn pain of patients at
SnowWorld, developed at the
<![if !vml]><![endif]>In our preliminary case study (Hoffman, Doctor, Patterson, Carrougher and Furness, 2000), two patients with severe burns went into SpiderWorld. They saw a virtual kitchen complete with kitchen countertops, a window with a partly cloudy sky, as well as 3-D cabinets, and doors that could be opened and shut. Patients could pick up a teapot, plate, toaster, plant, or frying pan by inserting their cyberhand into the virtual object, and clicking a grasp button on their 3-D mouse. Each patient also physically picked up a virtual wiggly-legged spider possessing solidity and weight, using a mixed-reality force feedback technique developed by one of our team members. Patient 1 had 5 staples removed from a burn skin graft while playing Nintendo, and six staples removed from the same skin graft while in VR. He reported dramatic reductions in pain during VR.
Patient 2 was perhaps a bigger challenge. He had a severe burn covering over 33% of his body.
Patient 2 showed a similar large but less extreme pattern (reduction of pain during wound care while in VR compared to while playing a video game). The results of these two patients are described in a clinical note in the March 10th, 2000 issue of the medical journal PAIN. Clinical notes are inconclusive by nature, and larger studies are needed (and underway, and several have now been published).
In all of our VR pain control studies, patients, (especially children and teenaged burn patients) have shown enthusiasm about participating. click here for video.
Water friendly virtual reality goggles funded largely by the Washington State Firefighters Fund. This fiberoptic VR helmet developed by our team allows patients to go into virtual reality while getting wound care/debridement/bandages changed in a hydro tank, partially submerged in water. (Clinical Journal of Pain, 2008).
fMRI BRAIN SCANS
Pain research using fMRI brain scans show significant reductions in pain-related brain activity during SnowWorld in healthy volunteers getting thermal pain stimulations (NeuroReport, 2004; see also Anesthesia and Analgesia, 2007).
For a list of VR studies and publications using SnowWorld (click here).
Virtual Reality Exposure
therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (click here).
CyberTherapy Conference June 23rd to 25th 2008 in
A snapshot of good old SnowWorld 2003, image by
Stephen Dagadakis, copyright Hunter Hoffman, U.W. The original version of SnowWorld
(completed in 2003) was developed by Hunter Hoffman, with help from Kristin
Darken, Jeff Bellinghausen and Chuck Walter from Multigen, Brian Stewart from
SimWright Inc., Howard Abrams (freelance worldbuilder), and Duff Hendrickson
from the UW HITLab. Thank you. The version of
SnowWorld currently being used was designed by Hoffman and built by Ari
Hollander and Howard Rose from www.imprintit.com
Click here for information about contributing
to this project.
Hunter Hoffman <hunthoff9gmail.com>