What to know about the potential applications for virtual reality in GI

Gastroenterology is well-suited for virtual reality-based treatment due to the brain-gut relationship, according to Brennan Spiegel, MD, who spoke at the 2019 American Gastroenterological Association Tech Summit April 10-12 in San Francisco according to a report from the association and GI & Hepatology News.

Dr. Spiegel, the director of health services research for Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said VR can help patients engage with their body differently, which may help them develop better coping mechanisms.

Dr. Spiegel outlined how when a woman was experiencing pain from liver ascites, using a VR experience that took her out of the hospital room she was in relieved her pain.

Because gastroenterological pain relief is consistent with virtual reality treatments, Dr. Spiegel said when patients don't respond to virtual reality treatment, it causes him to reevaluate patients for missed pathologies.

The diseases that virtual reality could help treat include irritable bowel syndrome, in addition to those outside gastroenterology including depression and eating disorders.

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