Top 4 Virtual Reality (VR) Breakthroughs in Medicine

Virtual reality (VR) is becoming a prominent force in the healthcare industry. The VR market in medicine is expected to grow to $3.8 billion by 2020, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts. Another report by Grand View Research predicts this market to grow to a whopping $5.1 billion by 2025. This technology holds promise in revolutionizing the healthcare industry, with applications ranging from training medical professionals to diagnosing and treating different conditions. In this article, DocWire News has compiled the top four headlines in recent news regarding medical VR.

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Using VR to Plan Surgeries

The St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa is using VR technology from flight simulations to create virtual models of a patient’s anatomy. These 360-degree models are generated using CT and MRI images and provide pediatric surgeons with a detailed planning tool.

The hospital is using the Surgical Theater Precision Virtual Reality technology to create these patient models, the same VR technology is utilized in F-16 fighter aircraft simulations. This VR is currently being used in the hospital’s neurology and cardiac surgery programs. Surgical Theater’s VR was recently used at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals to create similar patient models for neurosurgery as well.

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VR May Be the Best Way to Detect Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Recent work from the University of Cambridge has found that VR could be more effective in detecting early Alzheimer’s disease than traditional cognitive tests. With over 525,000 UK citizens living with the disease, the researchers’ work has great implications for the use of technology in diagnosing and monitoring the neurological disease. This research was recently published in the journal Brain.

The research builds on the 2014 work from Professor John O’Keefe of the University College London, which identified a mental “satnav” of one’s current and previous locations that aids in navigation. O’Keefe received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain’ for this research.

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Helping those with Parkinson’s Disease Walk Using VR

Recent work has found VR to be effective in building balance skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease. This system successfully improved patient’s obstacle negotiation and balance, as well as their confidence in moving around in their environment, according to their findings published in Experimental Biology.

Walking is a very challenging task for those living with Parkinson’s, due to damage in their dopamine-producing neurons. Muscle rigidity, tremors, and impaired speed of gait often lead to falls and injuries in patients with the disease, making balance therapy a common treatment.


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How Osso VR is Reshaping the Surgical Training Process

osso vrPerforming an operation for the first time is a very daunting task for a surgeon. Training opportunities at this early career stage are limited. At best, first-time surgeons were able to perform the surgery on a cadaver once prior to the real procedure, after which point the safety of the live patient was fully in their hands. The need for improved surgical training procedures is evident, and one company that aims to potentially fill this void is Osso VR, previously covered on DocWire News, using VR to reshape the surgical training process by providing life-like simulations of many operations.

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Jack holds a biology degree from Penn State University, and has a keen interest in how new medical technologies are changing the future of healthcare. Reach out to Jack if you have a compelling story idea or with feedback about past articles.