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Importance of Virtual Reality to a Controlled Stimulus

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Annual rept. 25 Sep 2010-24 Sep 2011

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This study is a follow up to two projects, funded by the Office of Naval Research, which demonstrated that Virtual Reality VR Exposure Therapy was safe for the treatment of combat PTSD Disorder, and that it worked better than treatment as usual. In this study, we are attempting to discover if the Virtual Realty is actually the active component of the treatment. Participants with PTSD are randomized to receive the same treatment that was successful in the previous projects, or the same treatment in which a simple, still computer image replaces the VR. At the initial onset of the project we were delayed by 6 months for administrative reasons. The project has since that time consistently been 6 months behind, but is otherwise going as anticipated. In the last year, we have continued to recruit, assess, and treat individuals with combat related PTSD. We have completed treatment of a little over half the targeted number of subjects, and within the next 10 weeks, if currently enrolled subjects complete treatment, will reach 75 of our target enrollment. Preliminary analysis from current subjects is showing that the use of the VR does not significantly improve outcomes immediately after treatment. However, at 3-month follow up, subjects who had received VR had greater treatment gains than those in the control condition.

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  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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