Game designed to help burns victims escape their pain.
The game ‘SnowWorld’ is set in an icy 3D canyon and was developed by Professor Hunter Hoffman and Professor David Patterson at the University of Washington Harberview Burn Centre in Seattle. It evolved out of the scientific advances in the last decade in understanding pain.
The aim of the game is “to make a very attention grabbing experience for the patient and basically to give them a place to escape from their pain” says Hoffman. "Because pain has such a strong psychological component to it, psychological treatments can be used to counteract the pain”. “Because humans are so visually dominant wherever you're looking typically that's where your attention is focused”.” "(For patients) during wound care, when they're getting their bandages changed, they're looking at these different tools that the nurses are using to treat them, and just looking at those objects makes them anxious”. "They begin to associate objects in the room with high pain so you can imagine that day after day they start to develop psychological associations between the treatment room and pain, amplifying how much pain they experience."
Being immersed in SnowWorld puts a "curtain between the patient and reality", Hoffman explains. Patients wear a helmet hooked up to the virtual world and wear noise cancelling headphones, cutting off all the sights and sounds associated with the painful treatment.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, commented: “SnowWorld is a wonderful example of the different ways video games can be used. Video games can be employed for entertainment, educational, and medical purposes. Increasingly, video games are being created for non-entertainment uses as society harnesses the positive benefits of games technology.”
Original article appeared here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12297569
SnowWorld will feature in Horizon: The Secret World of Pain on BBC Two 31 January 2100 GMT.
Notes to editors:
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