How Extended Reality Technology Will Change Medicine, with Brennan Spiegel

We speak to Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, director of Health Services Research for Cedars-Sinai and Director of the Cedars-Sinai Master's Degree Program in Health Delivery Science about his book VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine. View more about medical extended reality and virtual reality on SolveCast.


Marc Pelletier
Entrepreneur / Scientist
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Highlights from this article

Whereas something like VR, if it's done correctly might be able to help you think differently about that pain. Not that you think away pain by. It's much more complicated than that, but we know that the brain and the body are connected. It is one physical system.

And so what we can do in VR rather than using it just for entertainment or games, As to change perceptions about the world around us and to change perceptions about the world within us, and to do it in a way that can hopefully recalibrate unhealthy perceptions that can drive for example, pain or anxiety or depressed.

So for example, and so, you know, I wouldn't want to say like, oh, you know, you don't need any pain medicines after open heart surgery or after having your sternum cut. You probably will need some analgesics, but maybe the the dosage requirement could be lower if you think about it, something like an opioid, which can be very effective doesn't necessarily help you think differently about the pain or affect the emotional or cognitive experience of that pain.

We can use it for cognitive behavioral therapy so we can use it to train people with new skills that they can hopefully bring with them outside of virtual reality.

So I have a particular interest in certain GI conditions, particularly irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, which is one of the most common. Disorders we see in GI and anywhere in the world, it's for the most common disorders. And we know that that is a disorder of what we call gut-brain interaction. 
 So the way the brain and the gut communicate back and forth is underlies the experience of having IB. It's a complicated disease. There's many different causes of it, but, but we know for example, stress and anxiety are part of it and certainly promote the experience of IBS, make it worse. So I've been thinking about the connection between brain and body for a long time.

You know, within the more prescribed realm AppliedVR is a company here in LA that is going through FDA clearance right now for their their program called EaseVR. Which is for chronic pain, they have validated it for chronic lower back pain and randomized controlled trials conducted in partnership with Stanford.

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