Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Virtual Reality Technology “oVRcome” Developed In Christchurch, Given Green Light For Clinical Trial.

Can virtual reality help treat people with a fear of flying or spiders?

A clinical trial involving University of Otago, Christchurch, researchers and a South Island tech company will seek to answer that question.

The trial will use a smartphone app called “oVRcome” developed by tech entrepreneur Adam Hutchinson to treat patients with phobias and anxiety.

The app is paired with a headset to immerse participants in virtual environments to help treat their phobia.

The oVRcome system draws on principles of exposure therapy, a proven and effective form of treatment, which removes the need to create real life experiences and scenarios.

Senior Lecturer Dr Cameron Lacey, of the Department of Psychological Medicine, says: “this builds on our research into talking treatments for mental distress and we hope to see this use of technology increase access to effective treatments for people across New Zealand”.

Adam was inspired to develop oVRcome after becoming increasingly alarmed by mental health statistics.

Recognising that access to mental services was a key issue, he began working with a team of psychologists to develop an accessible smart-phone based tool to help.

It is estimated that up to 80% of anxiety sufferers do not seek treatment. Barriers include cost, location of the patient, the stigma of going to a psychologist and the lack of trained psychologists.

Says Adam, “Covid-19 has accelerated our comfort with remote healthcare. This presents an opportunity to really address those mental health statistics and provide more accessible support to those in need.

“Whilst there are an increasing number of mental health apps available, many have not undergone clinical trials. We’re looking forward to working with the experienced team at the University of Otago and exploring the true potential of oVRcome to make treatment more accessible and affordable for more people”.

The research team will initially looking at phobias relating to flying, needles, dogs or spiders. 100 people over the age of 18 are being sought to take part in a three month trial via smartphone.

To express interest in participating go to https://www.ovrcome.io/trial-registration

 

80% of people with anxiety disorders, amounting to 67.2 million people, receive no treatment (Chisholm et. al., 2016).

Chisholm, D., Sweeny, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P., & Saxena, S. (2016). Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: A global return on investment analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(5), 415–424. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30024-4

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Maritime Union: Deepening Supply Chain Crisis Requires Action

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the global COVID-19 pandemic exposed pre-existing weaknesses in our logistics sector, and created enormous problems... More>>



Air New Zealand: Employees Recognised With $1,000 Share Award

The efforts Air New Zealand employees made during one of the airline’s toughest years will be recognised via an award of $1,000 worth of company shares to all permanent employees... More>>

Consumer NZ: Bank Complaints On The Rise, Survey Shows

Nearly one in five Kiwis had a problem with their bank in the past year, Consumer NZ’s latest satisfaction survey finds. Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the number of bank customers reporting problems had jumped to 18%, up from 11% in 2020... More>>

Mercury: Enters Into Binding Agreements To Acquire Trustpower’s Retail Business

Mercury NZ Limited (Mercury) has announced that it has entered into binding agreements with Trustpower Limited (Trustpower, NZX:TPW) to acquire Trustpower’s retail business for NZ$441 million... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: New Zealanders Missing Out On Hundreds Of Millions In KiwiSaver Government Contributions

New Zealanders have just over a week to ensure they’re eligible for the maximum annual government KiwiSaver contribution... More>>


Stats NZ: GDP Climbs 1.6 Percent In March 2021 Quarter Following December Dip

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 1.6 percent in the March 2021 quarter, following a 1.0 percent fall in the December 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. "After an easing of economic activity in the December quarter, we’ve seen broad-based growth in the first quarter of 2021... More>>