For many of us, being healthy is a top goal for the new year and well after. Doctors and medical specialists have helped to come up with two new medical and VR facing technologies that are going to change how patients and their practitioners view hearts and cancer like never before.
VR Medical Simulations for the Heart and Cancer
Central Illinois Proud reports that surgeons are now using a VR medical sim with patients called Jump Simulation. These techie surgeons are helping their patients gain a better understanding of their own heart defects by viewing a virtual model of it.
Surgeons using Jump Simulation with their pre-op patients help them show what areas are being affected and operated on. Arming patients with knowledge helps invasive and oftentimes painful procedures seem a tad less scary and offers many some peace of mind.
'Virtual tumour' new way to see cancer
“This is like giving them a guided tour through their own heart,” said Mark Plunkett Chief of Pediatric Congenital heart surgery at CHOI. “They know that we are using this technology to achieve the best outcomes possible with repairing their heart defects.”
Scientists out of Cambridge are also using VR technologies to shed some light on patients cancer cells , BBC News details. This helps scientists, doctors, and patients not only see cancerous cells in 3D, but they can also make the cells larger to see them in a space as large as a room.
Prof Greg Hannon, Director of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, spoke with BBC News and shared, “No-one has examined the geography of a tumour in this level of detail before; it is a new way of looking at cancer.”
Cancer growth needs to be aggressively tackled and so Cambridge’s use of 3D models for cancer research and treatment is revolutionary from a medical standpoint but also for patients as well.
It’s not all going to be plastic. Today, virtually everyone loves everything about VR, which accounts for the magnitude of its success. But the technology continues to evolve at a breakneck speed. One focus of technological advances related to VR is the engineering and design of the headset. Expectedly, there are ultra high-tech and complicatedly designed headsets out there. But some tech wizards have taken it one step further, thereby making it way more accessible to everyone. Now, there are tutorials about making VR headsets out of pieces of cardboard. Not only has this opened a plethora of possibilities for VR, it has gotten people to think in creative ways to upsize their experiences.
What researchers do is they get a 1mm cube of the affected area (100,000 cells) and make slices of it. These samples are then scanned and inputted into 3D analysis at a VR lab. Patients and medical teams can see what a tumor looks like, study it, and see how cells and tumors changed over time with a comparison shot and detailed images.
VR Medical Advances Picking Up Steam
Since medical simulations from Jump Simulation and the research being done at VR labs at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute are virtual, they can also share this medical information with other researchers and medical staff around the world for further medical research and advancement.
The beauty of VR enabled medical advances is that they are able to be shared with others, so potentially life-saving information isn’t sitting in darkness. There are companies like Nanome who work with scientists, researchers, and the public to help formulate virtual molecules to progress scientific and medical breakthroughs.
With researchers, surgeons, doctors, and patients sharing scientific and medical information with each other using VR, we can’t help but think that advances in research and treatment for heart and cancer-related issues are going to start picking up steam.