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Parents Can Meet their Unborn Babies for First Time in 3D Virtual Reality

The virtual reality foetal 3-D models are remarkably similar to the post-natal appearance of the newborn baby

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Representational image. Pixabay
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New York, November 22, 2016: In a new breakthrough research, Brazilian scientists have developed a new technology that will enable parents to watch their unborn babies grow in realistic three-dimensional immersive visualisation.

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The new technology combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — which provides high-resolution foetal and placental imaging with excellent contrast — and ultrasound data to scan segments of the mother’s womb and foetus to build a 3-D model which can be brought to life by using a virtual reality (VR) headset.

“The 3-D foetal models combined with virtual reality immersive technologies may improve our understanding of foetal anatomical characteristics and can be used for educational purposes and as a method for parents to visualise their unborn baby,” said Heron Werner Jr. from the Clinica de Diagnostico por Imagem, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sequentially-mounted MRI slices are used to begin construction of the model. A segmentation process follows in which the physician selects the body parts to be reconstructed in 3-D.

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Once an accurate 3-D model is created — including the womb, umbilical cord, placenta and foetus — the virtual reality device can be programmed to incorporate the model, the study said.

The virtual reality foetal 3-D models are remarkably similar to the post-natal appearance of the newborn baby.

They recreate the entire internal structure of the foetus, including a detailed view of the respiratory tract, which can aid doctors in assessing abnormalities, Werner added.

The technology also can help coordinate care with multidisciplinary teams and provide better visual information to parents to help them understand malformations and treatment decisions.

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“We believe that these images will help facilitate a multidisciplinary discussion about some pathologies in addition to bringing a new experience for parents when following the development of their unborn child,” Werner said.

The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, US. (IANS)

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Playing video games can help boost memory, says research

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

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Video games help boost memory
Video games help boost memory. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly
  • The gamers performed significantly better during the test of gamers and non-gamers
  • The gamers also showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

London, October 2, 2017: Tired of watching your child play video games? Instead, join them, as researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly.

“Our study shows that gamers are better in analysing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge, and to categorise facts — especially in situations with high uncertainties,” said lead author Sabrina Schenk from Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany.

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning.

This kind of learning is linked to an increased activity in the hippocampus — a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory.

“We think that playing video games trains certain brain regions like the hippocampus. That is not only important for young people, but also for older people; this is because changes in the hippocampus can lead to a decrease in memory performance. Maybe, we can treat that with video games in the future,” Schenk added.

Both teams did the so-called weather prediction task, a well-established test to investigate the learning of probabilities. The researchers simultaneously recorded the brain activity of the participants via magnetic resonance imaging.

Also read: ‘Games of Change’ Festival at New York Gives Gamers a Reality Check by Introducing Video Games based on Social and Civic Issues

The participants were shown a combination of three cue cards with different symbols. They should estimate whether the card combination predicted sun or rain and got a feedback if their choice was right or wrong.

They gradually learned, on the basis of the feedback, which card combination stands for which weather prediction.

The combinations were thereby linked to higher or lower probabilities for sun and rain.

After completing the task, the study participants filled out a questionnaire to sample their acquired knowledge about the cue card combinations.

Also, the gamers were notably better in combining the cue cards with the weather predictions than the control group. (IANS)