Publication date: May 10, 2019
Such benefits of VR also extend to those with dementia who experience poor memory, confusion, and display increased aggression towards family and caregivers, according to new research by Dr. Jim Ang and colleagues at the University of Kent.
The study equipped each patient with a VR headset to ‘visit’ one of five virtual environments (VEs): a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach, and a countryside scene.
One important finding from the study was that VR helped patients retrieve old memories by incorporating novel stimuli difficult to access as a result of poor and declining health and inability to reach from their limited and secure environment.
Researchers from the study shared insights from the VR study, including patient interactions at an arts session some weeks later in which one of the patients who had participated explained that it had been extremely helpful.
While Ang and his colleagues believe that a larger study will be necessary to validate their results, they also feel that patient response thus far indicates that VR has significant promise for those diagnosed with dementia: – . “
Ongoing refinements in VR technology-specifically the ability to produce 360-degree VR videos–may allow engineers tailor specific VEs for individual patients leading to greater patient satisfaction and enhanced quality of life.