Category: Press releases

Virtual Reality Pain Distraction in Feminine-Specific Surgical Procedures

Partnering with researchers Jose Luis Mosso Vasquez from Panamerican University School of Medicine and Veronica Lara Vaca of Hospital de Ginecología y Obstetricia Número 4 in Mexico City, Mexico, Interactive Media Institute and Virtual Reality Medical Center studied virtual reality (VR) pain distraction during gynecological surgery. Gynecological surgeries are often sources of stress for women, causing higher pain both during and after the surgery. As a supplement to traditional anesthesia, VR helps to distract patients from pain by showing them immersive and interactive virtual environments, taking their mind off of the surgical procedure and the pain associated with it.


Of the 44 participants in this study, half received VR pain distraction, while the other half received no pain distraction method. The results indicated statistically significant differences in pain perception between the groups, but physiological measurements were less determinable. Overall, this study highlights the need for interventions to reduce stress and pain during feminine-specific medical procedures. To inquire about this study, please contact Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold at the Virtual Reality Medical Center (



To access the full text:


Vasquez JM, Vaca VL, Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Wiederhold MD. Virtual reality pain distraction during gynecological surgery—A report of 44 cases. Surgical Research Updates. 2017.

Virtual Reality Assisted Anesthesia During Gastrointestinal Surgery

Surgical Research Updates journal recently published “Virtual Reality Assisted Anesthesia (VRAA) during Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: Report of 115 Cases— Analysis of Physiological Responses.” The second report of this study focused on patients’ physiological responses to stress and pain during gastrointestinal surgery. Researchers from Interactive Media Institute, Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, and the Alberto Pisanty Clinic, and Panamerican University in Mexico City participated. Results indicate lower heart rate and respiration rate (physiological indicators of stress) in patients using VR than those who did not.

These findings support a previous publication of self-report pain scores and highlight the usefulness of VR to reduce physiological responses to stress and decrease pain without medication. These findings have large implications in surgical practice moving forward. Reduced need for medication like anesthesia help lower medical costs, reduce the risk complications, and reduce patient recovery time.


Contact author:

Brenda K. Wiederhold

Virtual Reality Medical Center


Vasquez JM, Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Lara DM, Wiederhold MD. Virtual reality assisted anesthesia (VRAA) during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: Report of 115 cases-Analysis of physiological responses. Surgical Research Updates. 2017.

European Medical Journal – Innovations

Interactive Media Institute, Virtual Reality Medical Center, and the Panamerican University School of Medicine in Mexico City recently published findings on the use of virtual reality (VR) surgical pain distraction in the January 2017 issue of the European Medical Journal – Innovations. In a study of 115 participants, researchers found people who viewed immersive VR environments reported less pain during and after their gastrointestinal surgical procedure than those who did not. The researchers call for further investigation into whether VR can be used to supplement or replace traditional pharmacological anesthesia.


This research adds on to studies already examining the use of VR in pain attenuation, but is one of the first to use VR during surgical procedures. Not only did the patients report lower pain scores, but the success of the treatment suggests the potential of VR to help lower the need for medications like anesthesia. Additionally, the surgeon rated his stress lower and completed surgeries faster when patients were in VR. The reduction of pain without pharmacological substances can 1) help lower costs for public health institutions, 2) reduce the risk of complications, and 3) decrease patient recovery time.


Contact author:

Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold

Virtual Reality Medical Center

Access full text:

Vázquez JL, Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Wiederhold MD. Virtual reality assisted anaesthesia during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: report of 115 cases. EMJ Innov. 2017;1[1]:75-82.

Silicon Valley Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum


Chief Technology Officer of The Virtual Reality Medical Center Lingjun Kong participated in the Silicon Valley Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (SVIEF) on 27 September 2014. SVIEF is an international conference designed to foster innovation and promote business partnerships connecting the US and Asia-Pacific regions. It is a leading venue in the high-tech industry field which gathers multi-tech and business professionals, while providing a platform for talent, technology, and capital exchange. The 2014 SVIEF was designed to be intense and informative, with the theme on “Global Vision of Innovation: Cross-Border and Disrupt”. The primary goal of this conference was to bring together global technology leaders as well as friends and partners, such as the US and China, with an efficient platform for communication and networking, as well as letting the world know the power of the cross-border cooperation in the technology sector.

Games for Health Europe Conference

International forerunners of applied gaming and healthcare once again landed in Utrecht on October 27 & 28 for Games for Health Europe Conference. The conference brought together researchers, medical professionals and game developers to exchange the latest innovations regarding applied games. 57 speakers from Europe, US and Japan came to share the latest innovations in applied game industry, as well as 20 Universities and academic hospitals were involved. The topics focused on business of cutting-edge games, game design, games for rehabilitation and disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, cognitive health, nutrition and health education. Brenda Wiederhold from the Virtual Reality Medical Institute presented a design of a mobile app that could empower children to overcome fears. Kristina Augustinaite attended this conference as a press officer for the VRMI.


Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold Wins Satava Award

Satava Award

We are excited to announce that, Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, Chief Executive Officer of the Interactive Media Institute in San Diego, CA has been awarded the 11th Annual Satava Award at the 2005Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) conference. The conference, now in its 13th year serves as an international forum for physicians, computer scientists and educators to present research on data-centered solutions to health care problems. Dr. Wiederhold was honored for her continuous effort to further the application of advanced technologies and Virtual Reality (VR) for patient care. This is the first time that the award has been presented for work in the Mental Health Care field and only the second time that it has been awarded to a female researcher.

“Medical Marker” Inaugural Class Introduced

Another highlight of the EDC’s Schwartz Awards Luncheon was unveiling of bioOrlando’s new “Medical Marker” program, which is designed to build awareness of the growing presence of biotech and life science companies in our region.

Ray Gilley, EDC President & CEO, described the program as a way to recognize the growing number of leaders in scientific research and medical technology, as well as companies who have contributed substantially to the evolution of such technologies in Central Florida. “On an ongoing basis, Medical Markers will be presented to life science and biotech organizations throughout the four county region,” explained Gilley.

A design for the marker, the work of talented local artist Dralene “Red” Hughes, was unveiled. Hughes submitted her concept as part of a design competition promoted by United Arts. The artist explains her design concept (above) as follows: “An abstract figure formed from checks and balances reaches for a goal, represented by the bright star. The figure is stepping forward and up, with the upper extension pointing to the Orlando area on a Florida map.”

Florida Senator Lee Constantine, a tireless community advocate who introduced the bill that put the UCF College of Medicine into Statute, then introduced the inaugural class of Medical Marker recipients. As Constantine explained, this founding group represents the pioneers of our region’s medical and life science industry. “These are the organizations and industries that blazed the trail and ensured that Metro Orlando would be well-positioned as a true contender for the life science industry,” he said.

bioOrlando’s inaugural class of Medical Marker recipients includes:

  • Florida Hospital, est. 1908
  • Orlando Health, est. 1918
  • Florida’s Blood Centers, est. 1942
  • South Lake Hospital, est. 1947; home to National Training Center
  • Health Central, est. 1952
  • Tavistock Group / Lake Nona
  • VaxDesign
  • CuraScript
  • .decimal
  • Emergency Medicine Learning & Resource Center
  • Virtual Reality Medical Center