Journal of Cybertherapy & Rehabilitation
Summer 2008, Volume 1, Issue 2
Welcome to the second issue of the Journal of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation (JCR). This peer-reviewed academic journal continues to explore the uses of advanced technologies for therapy, training, education, prevention, and rehabilitation. JCR is a quarterly published academic journal, which focuses on the rapidly expanding worldwide trend of moving toward technological applications in healthcare. Our main interests include, but are not limited to, psychiatry, psychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, neurorehabilitation, oncology, obesity, eating disorders, and autism, among many others.
Advanced technologies such as virtual reality (VR), robotics, non-invasive physiological monitoring, E-health, and adaptive displays are being applied to several areas of healthcare. New areas of research regarding the use of advanced technologies in healthcare are transforming this ever-changing field revealing new discoveries, aiding patients with both mental and physical disorders.
Since the debut of our inaugural issue, JCR has received international attention from peers, international institutions, and international conferences. The JCR is the official journal of the International Association of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation (IACR) and the official journal of the CyberTherapy Conference series, the fourteenth annual confer- ence will be held in Verbania next June, which has gained interest from European high-level conferences on health- care to Ministers of Health all over the European continent. The IACR has recently collaborated with Med-e-Tel 2009, an international annual telehealth conference that draws an enormous and diverse attendance, after Med-e-Tel’s 2008 addition of telepsychiatry, to bring cybertherapy to another innovative field of healthcare. Both the Association and the Journal have been invited to European conferences on health and wellbeing, which has opened many doors for opportunities through our gained publicity. “Healthcare in Europe needs to change,” remarked Zofija Mazej- Kukovic, Slovenian Minister of Health and currently holding the European Union Presidency, while interviewing for the JCR. “I look forward to working with as many possible partners and organizations in the future.”
This issue of JCR features comprehensive articles by preeminent scholars in the field. This issue’s reviews and studies include some of the most promising applications for technology in therapy and rehabilitation, surveying the concepts and studies that laid the groundwork for the field up to this point. In the previous issue, the focus of the articles were an introduction for those new to the field as well as an expansion of knowledge of those well-estab- lished in their careers with newer applications for technology in healthcare. This issue has many new and innovative expansions on cybertherapy and healthcare in more focused fields. It is exciting to see the JCR evolve into new aspects of the field, moving technology and scientific findings, as well as our journal, into the transforming field of cybertherapy.
In the first paper, Gamberini writes an article on the continual usage of computer games in healthcare. Gamberini et al. focuses their article on proposing a review of existing research on computer games, exploited for prevention, support, training, rehabilitation, and specifically reviewing the relationship between cognitive processes and gaming. The article shows the success and ability to foster motivatation and to enhance cognitive processes.
The second article, by Mülberger et al. focuses virtual reality therapy on treatment for phobias, specifically on patients who suffer from spider phobia. “A Virtual Reality Behavior Avoidance Test (VR-BAT) for the Assessment of Spider Phobia” use virtual environments and spider scenarios for a behavior avoidance test, monitoring subjective anxiety, symptoms, heart rate, skin conductance, and approach behavior in 34 female patients. Their research found a very effective result for physiological assessment of fear.
The next article by Villani and Riva which is entitled, “The Role of Media in Supporting a Stress Management Protocol: An Experimental Study,” focuses on stress management and the sense of presence carried out through virtual environments. This article suggests the importance of the sense of presence as a mediating variable between the experience and the efficacy of the relaxation process, creating new advances in therapeutic approaches.
After that, Alcaniz et al. authored “Low-cost Virtual Motor Rehabilitation for Neurophysical Disability Improvements in Impaired Patients,” which attempts to find a new way of using technology to improve motor rehabilitation to customize exercises for patients. The end result brings promising outcomes, citing increased motivation for patients in the rehabilitation process.
Later is an article using technology and therapy to treat obese patients with emotional eating. “New Technologies and Relaxation: An Explorative Study on Obese Patients with Emotional Eating,” written by Manzoni et al. analyze stress and negative emotions as critical factors in inducing overeating in obese patients using virtual reality. The authors present several examples of the effectiveness of relaxation training using VR for emotional eating.
Hoffman et al., wrote the sixth article, “Pain Control During Wound Care for Combat-Related Burn Injuries Using Custom Articulated Arm Mounted Virtual Reality Goggles,” for the use of pain control for soldiers suffering from various combat-related wounds. The VR goggle system proved to distract and even entertain many patients during wound care, dropping pain from “severe” to “mild.” This article focuses mainly on burn victims using VR as an effec- tive adjunctive nonpharmacologic analgesic for reducing cognitive pain, emotion pain, and sensory components.
Finally, the article “Applying the Technology Acceptance Model to VR with People who are Favorable to its Use,” by Bertrand and Bouchard tests the Technology Acceptance Model as applied to the use of virtual reality in clinical settings. The results reveal that Intention to Use VR is predicted only by Perceived Usefulness, which then indicates how to better document the dissemination of virtual reality among clinicians.
The third issue of JCR will continue to explore the ways in which technology influences and enhances the healthcare of citizens in Europe and throughout the world. We are interested in receiving original research and ideas for future theme issues from our readership. Current topics being considered include non-manual displays, neurophysiology, VR and e-health for special populations including the elderly, pediatrics, and those with disabilities, among others. Please contact us with your interesting manuscripts and ideas for additional topics for the Journal, and thank you for your support of this promising new publication.
Brenda K. Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCIA
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation
Virtual Reality Medical Institute