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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Pain in the Brain 

Virtual reality treatment has been previously used to help patients with pain. A new study not only confirms this, but also shows that VR alters how the brain experiences pain as well: pain-related activity was reduced in the anterior cingulate cortex, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, insula, and thalamus.
This is cool for many reasons. Pain management is a big problem: many patients refuse necessary procedures they believe will be painful, and when they do have them, it is painful. I wonder if this kind of treatment would help with chronic pain? That'd be good too.
It makes sense: when you're in pain, you focus on something else, and it bothers you less, so VR changes what you're focused on more systematically.

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