Wednesday November 20, 2019

Virtual Reality Treatment Reduces Desire for Drugs

During the treatment, users wearing a headset see several common drug use scenarios displayed through VR software

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Virtual Reality, Treatment, Drugs
More than 70 per cent of the participants have reduced their desire for drugs after undergoing the treatment, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday. Pixabay

More than 1,000 drug users in Shanghai have undergone an eight-month virtual reality treatment programme over the last three years to overcome their addiction.

More than 70 per cent of the participants have reduced their desire for drugs after undergoing the treatment, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday citing the local judicial department.

During the treatment, users wearing a headset see several common drug use scenarios displayed through VR software. The headset is equipped with an infrared eye-tracker that can detect what they are looking at and for how long. If one watches an object for a long time, he or she must be interested in it.

The VR system simulates drug-craving cues in order to collect psychological data to evaluate addicts and help them off drugs. Their biological indicators, such as heart rate and skin conductivity, are recorded at the same time.

Virtual Reality, Treatment, Drugs
More than 1,000 drug users in Shanghai have undergone an eight-month virtual reality treatment programme over the last three years. Pixabay

Traditional methods to induce drug cravings are mainly fake drugs and pictures of drugs, which look unreal, and addicts’ eye movements cannot be recorded accurately, making assessment difficult, said Xu Ding, a senior researcher with the Shanghai rehabilitation administration.

“The VR technology can offer an immersive environment, such as a party, a bar or a KTV room, where users can interact with virtual features,” Xu said.

Health professionals also use VR to help addicts cut their psychological reliance on drugs.

After inducing drug cravings, VR images automatically switch to scenes showing negative consequences of drug use, such as disease, broken families and suicide, to arouse feelings of discomfort and then aversion to drugs.

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“If you see a worm every time you eat an apple, you’ll stop wanting apples,” said Zhang Chaojing, of Shanghai Qingdong rehabilitation centre.

Sometimes the VR system displays natural scenery to help calm addicts, better regulate their emotions and gradually abandon drugs.

“Modern solutions are more scientific,” said Xu. (IANS)

Next Story

A Molecule in Immune System Can Target and Kill Cancer Cells: Study

Crucially, there is a need to induce the immune system to ensure long-term protection against the recurrence of cancer

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Immune
Current approaches to achieve this involve killing Cancer cells by using chemotherapeutics and other agents which could be harmful and have uncertain outcomes other than Immune Bacteria. Pixabay

Researchers have found a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the Immune system that could successfully target and kill Cancer cells, according to a study.

The study, published in British Journal of Cancer, discovered that beta-galactoside-binding protein, a naturally occurring molecule produced by immune cells can non-specifically target cancer cells, make them undergo cell death and through a stress response pathway make the cancer cells visible to the immune system to prompt an anti-cancer immune response that would secure protection against recurrences.

“By contrast, the anti-tumour property of the molecule is selective and not harmful to normal cells. It is effective against the most aggressive colorectal cancer cells and a wide range of other cancer cells equally unresponsive to current therapies,” said study lead author Professor Livio Mallucci from King’s College London.

“This research presents experimental evidence for a strategy where the targeting of cancer cells and the stimulation of immunity combine to prompt immediate and long-term responses against aggressive cancer,” he said.

According to the researchers, major developments in anti-cancer therapies have taken place over the last decade, but as only a subset of patients respond to treatments, there is a need for further development.

Crucially, there is a need to induce the immune system to ensure long-term protection against the recurrence of cancer.

Immune
Researchers have found a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the Immune system that could successfully target and kill Cancer cells, according to a study. Pixabay

Current approaches to achieve this involve killing cells by using chemotherapeutics and other agents which could be harmful and have uncertain outcomes, the study said.

ALSO READ: WHO Demands Strict Regulations on Vaping Products

“Translation of the molecule to the clinic could open a new therapeutic opportunity which safely combines direct killing of cancer cells and the stimulation of the immune system against recurrences, a significant step forward in the management of cancer,” he added. (IANS)