Virtual Reality helps to reduce Phantom Body pain in Paraplegics – ZMR Blog
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Virtual Reality helps to reduce Phantom Body pain in Paraplegics

Virtual Reality Helps To Reduce Phantom Body Pain In Paraplegics

In breakthrough study guided by Olaf Blanke—a neuroscientist—and his team at the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, the team demonstrated that phantom body pain can be decreased in paraplegics by producing a bodily illusion with the assistance of virtual reality.

Blanke, the Lead author, explained, “We managed to incite an illusion that the legs of the subject were being frivolously tapped, when in reality the volunteer was being hit above the spinal cord lesion, on the back. When we did this, the volunteers also mentioned that their pain had reduced.”

The legs are no longer felt by the paraplegic patients, but the situation is mostly convoyed by neuropathic pain owing to the spinal cord lesion. The individuals feel pain instigating from their legs, although nothing else can be sensed below the laceration. The pain sensation is real and yet entirely defiant to drug treatment. However, virtual reality may be the means to provide pain relief for this sort of pain and the elucidation comes from re-establishing a sense of touch.

The experimental setting consists of a camera, a set of dummy legs, two rods, and virtual reality goggles. The camera films the legs. The video, in real-time, is transmitted onto virtual reality goggles put on by the paraplegic individual. The volunteer witnesses the dummy legs sighted from above as if seeing down their own legs. With this setting in position, the researchers tap the back of the patient with one rod while concurrently hitting the dummy legs with the other.

virtual reality

The patient thus gets 2 stimuli, one demonstrative on the back, whereas the other visual from the virtual reality exhibit. In spite of being attentive of being hit on the back, the volunteer still starts to experience as if the hitting is from the paralyzed legs.

Blanke said, “It requires about minutes of concurrently hitting for the illusion to occur. The back tapping gets rendered onto the legs as the visual stimulus governs over the tactile one.” The study presses on the restrictions of how virtual reality can be utilized to employ differing stimuli, with the endeavor of eventually controlling the brain in how it senses the body for remedial reasons.

Rooted in these results, the team is at present designing virtual reality technology that automates visuotactile stimulus—an enticing digital treatment—that subjects with spinal cord injury and other related chronic pain disorders for regular usage at home.

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