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Undergrad Researcher Kathryn Cruz presents at 1st Annual SFU Research Journal Poster Competition

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Kathryn Cruz is working in a team comprised of Pain Studies Lab and University of British Columbia researchers to supplement research in virtual reality for chronic pain patients.

The research poster, titled “Exploring Virtual Reality Preferences in Chronic Pain Patients: Game Controllers, Genres, and VR Experiences” was well-received at the competition. Cruz received special thanks as the first representative of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) that submitted to SFU’s Student Undergraduate Research Journal.

This SFU SURJ event aims to promote undergraduate research by providing young scientists exposure and recognition for their work by undergoing a peer-review process. Organizers hope to foster a community of undergraduates who value research while engaging all students in science communication and education.

Photograph: Kathryn Cruz at the 1ST Annual Simon Fraser University Student Undergraduate Research Journal Poster Competition on September 24, 2017.

At the Pain Studies Lab, ACADEMICA.CA demos VR for Managing Chronic Pain

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© copyright SFU Pain Studies Lab; Photo: Weina Jin

Academica.ca visited SFU’s Pain Studies Lab on September 26th to interview VR pioneer Dr. Diane Gromala. She discussed the VR systems that she has been designing, building, testing and deploying at pain clinics and hospitals since the 1990s, primarily for people who live with long-term chronic pain.

Dr. Gromala also shared the scientific data that validates that her VR system is an effective form of non-pharmacological pain control, as well as future work aimed at aging populations, adults and teens who are undergoing chemotherapy and for adults who are recovering from addiction. Serkan Pekcetin ran the VR demonstration while Academica.ca’s camera rolled.

Dr. Farzan, Dr. Gromala & Dr. Moreno: Finalists in the Innovation Lab @ Stanford

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3rd Annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change conference, Stanford University, School of Medicine, October 6-7.

Dr. Faranak Farzan, Dr. Diane Gromala and Dr. Sylvain Moreno were named one of five finalists in the Innovation Lab, a “shark tank” style competition for innovative ideas using VR in mental health domains. The Innovation Lab is part of the 3rd Annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change conference at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, 6-7 October 2017.

The triumvirate’s submission in the competition was entitled VR Tracking Risk of Substance Overdose & Building Resilience.

Stay tuned for the results!

Diane Gromala presents at Canadian Pain Society 2016 Meeting

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Prof. Diane Gromala, PhD, presented “Is VR Useful for Pain Management? Challenges” at the Canadian Pain Society’s (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting on May 27, 2016. The conference was held this year in Vancouver.

The Panel “Virtual Reality and Pain: A New Frontier or Smoke and Mirrors?” was chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Gold, a doctor at UCLA who specializes in paediatric pain, and Dr. Bernie Garrett from UBC’s School of Nursing who works with VR for chronic pain. The panelists discussed the historical and recent advances in the use of VR to alleviate and manage acute and chronic pain.

Gromala is the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Computational Technologies for Transforming pain, and is the Founding Director of the Chronic Pain Research Institute at SFU. Dr. Gromala began her exploration of VR and pain in 1991, the earliest days of VR. She has worked since that time on VR, focussing on chronic pain with her collaborators and students at the Pain Studies Lab at SFU in Surrey.

Photograph : Prof. Diane Gromala, PhD, at the Canadian Pain Society’s (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting on May 27, 2016 in Vancouver.

New virtual reality game Farmooo to help young cancer patients

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SFU students Henry Lo and Janice Ng have developed a new virtual reality game called Farmooo. Farmooo serves as a pain management tool for young cancer patients undergoing treatment. Professor Diane Gromala from the Pain Studies Lab is the pairs supervisor. Gromala’s research works at the confluence of computer science, media art and design, and has focused on the cultural, visceral, and embodied implications of digital technologies, particularly in the realm of chronic pain.

Read the full story at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-05-virtual-farm-game-young-cancer.html

Photograph courtesy: Medicalxpress.com, May 20, 2016

Exhibiting Pain

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Susanne Main from the Faculty of Health Social Care, The Open University, UK showcases online exhibitions called ‘Exhibiting Pain.’ These exhibitions are part of a PhD research project that help people in pain communicate what living with pain might look like. The exhibits consist of online art-work in various categories such as painting, installation, sculpture, textile and more and demonstrate how an invisible condition can be made visible through creativity. Main studies how audience interpret these works.

If you are interested in viewing the exhibition or participating in the study, visit: https://exhibitingpain.wordpress.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/exhibitingpain/

Poster presented at Canadian Pain Society Meeting

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Pain Studies Lab members Xin Tong, Professor Diane Gromala, Weina Jin, and Dr. Pam Squire presented a poster at the May, 2016 Canadian Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting held in Vancouver, British Columbia. The poster titled “Two Paradigms of Designing Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Patients: Pain Self-Modulation vs. Pain Distraction” showcases two VR environments, Virtual Meditative Walk (VMW) and Mobius Floe (MF). Virtual Meditative Walk is a VR environment that focuses attention inward as mindfulness-based stress reduction is used for pain self-modulation. Mobius Floe is a VR environment that focuses attention outward as immersion and cognitive distraction is used for pain distraction.

Related Publication:
Tong, X., Gromala, D., Jin, W., Squire, P. (2016). “Two Paradigms of Designing Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain Patients: Pain Self-Modulation vs. Pain Distraction” Poster, Canadian Pain Society (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting, Vancouver, May 23–24, 2016.

Pain Studies Lab’s Empathy Game Attracts Interest at the Canadian Pain Societys Annual Scientific Meeting

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The Pain Studies Labs members Weina Jin, Servet Ulaş, Xin Tong, Prof. Gromala and Prof. Shaw presented a poster on their interactive AS IF empathy game at the Canadian Pain Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting (CPS). As a chapter of the IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain), the CPS is a society of pain research scientists and healthcare professionals.

It was a delight to see that our work gained recognition from medical and pain research community. During the presentation, some of the interested healthcare professionals suggested that this game could have additional applications beyond its starting point, which is to elicit the public’s empathy towards people with chronic pain. For example, some attendees were enthusiastic about how useful the game would be in helping to educate medical and nursing students about what a patient’s experience is like. It was exciting to get inspirations from medical community and to see the rising interest of such professional communities in health-related technologies.

Related Publication: W. Jin, S. Ulaş, X. Tong, D. Gromala, C. Shaw, “Chronic Pain: Gaining Understanding and Empathy Through an Interactive System,” Canadian Pain Society (CPS) Annual Scientific Meeting, Vancouver, May 23–24, 2016.

Nazemi attends Design Research in Health Care conference

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Mark Nazemi, Ph.D. candidate and researcher at the Pain Studies Lab presented at “Design Research in Health Care conference in Lucerne, Switzerland in January, 2016. Nazemi’s research is titled “Immersive Sound Techniques + VR for Pain Anxiety Management.” This research provides an alternative non-invasive approach using customized 3-D immersive audio recordings to manage pain and anxiety. This highly specific listening process creates a perceptual change of environment providing relief for the listener. His research also discusses how VR therapy is used for pain management and mindfulness training.

Mark Nazemi, “Immersive Sound Techniques + VR for Pain Management”, D-Health Conference. 2016. University of Lucerne, Switzerland.

Dimple Gupta serves on Pain BC Education Committee

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Pain Studies Lab researcher and BC registered social worker, Dimple Gupta, has been a member of the Pain BC Education Committee since Fall, 2014. The purpose and goal of this committee is to assist Pain BC to design and review continuing education programs to train inter-disciplinary health care professionals. The education programs and trainings are focused on bringing knowledge and skills to health care professionals on various chronic pain topics. The Pain BC Education Committee meets regularly under the chairpersonship of Frances Kirson, Education Engagement Director, Pain BC. Visit the Pain BC website to learn more about trainings offered: https://www.painbc.ca/health-care-providers