Category Archive: Other News

Jul 17

Diane Gromala presents at Canadian Pain Society 2016 Meeting

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. 

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

Jul 17

New virtual reality game Farmooo to help young cancer patients

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 pair’s 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

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Jul 07

Exhibiting Pain

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 www.facebook.com/groups/exhibitingpain/

Jul 04

Poster presented at Canadian Pain Society Meeting

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.

Jun 28

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

The Pain Studies Lab’s 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.

Pain Lab's poster presentation of AS IF game at CPS.

Pain Lab’s poster presentation of AS IF game at CPS.

AS IF gameplay.

AS IF gameplay.

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.

CPS presentations ranged from the biochemistry of pain to new ideas of how the placebo phenomenon might work.

CPS presentations ranged from the biochemistry of pain to new ideas of how the placebo phenomenon might work.

 

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.

May 31

Nazemi attends Design Research in Health Care conference

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.

May 26

Dimple Gupta serves on Pain BC Education Committee

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

Apr 17

SFU’s Pain Studies Lab at ‘Medicine Meets VR’ Conference

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Pain Studies Lab members presented results of their research at the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) 2016 conference in Los Angeles, April 7-9. MMVR is an international scientific forum on advanced computer-based technologies for medical care and education. Its participants are scientists, engineers, physicians, educators, students, military and industry members, and healthcare futurists.

Dr. Chris Shaw presented a talk entitled “Usability Comparisons of Head-Mounted vs. Stereoscopic Desktop Displays in a Virtual Reality Environment with Pain Patients,” an investigation of simulator sickness in VR displays when used specifically by pain patients. Weina Jin introduced the results of a clinical study involving VR as a method of pain distraction. The study examined the efficacy of a VR “game” designed at the Pain Lab specifically for people who live with long-term chronic pain. An example of a “serious game,” the study demonstrated that it is an effective method of pain distraction.

This and other studies were limited to measuring the short-term analgesic effects of VR, but according to Dr. Gromala, who heads the Pain Studies Lab, “chronic pain patients have multiple needs for pain relief,” in the short-term, during times of ‘breakthrough pain,’ and over long periods of time. She adds, “while we developed a new paradigm for VR that we hope may prove useful for the long-term, we are committed to discovering the ways that VR — or any technology — can help.”

Ashfaq Amin presented “Immersion in Cardboard VR Compared to a Traditional Head-Mounted Display.” This poster describes a study conducted among 30 participants who used 3 different VR displays — Cardboard VR, Oculus Rift DK2, and Desktop. Participants in the study played the same VR game, and their experience of immersion was recorded using an Immersive Experience Questionnaire. Surprisingly, the results showed that Cardboard VR, despite its low resolution, performs almost as well as the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). Ashfaq, who is exploring affordable mobile VR technologies for pain self-management, carried home a best poster award for his work.

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The findings of these studies were presented by individual researchers, but are the result of a team of interdisciplinary researchers in SFU’s Pain Studies Lab. The research was made possible by support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Canada Research Chair Program, NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), NCE-GRAND, and Simon Fraser University; pain experts Dr. Pamela Squire, Dr. Owen Williamson and Dr. Brenda Lau; and patients/members of British Columbia’s non-profit organization PainBC.

Feb 24

We were at SPIE 2016

spiephoto
Dr. Gromala, Dr. Shaw and our new member PhD. candidate Servet Ulas was at SPIE 2016, presenting. The paper presented in the panel chaired by Ian McDowall was Mobius Floe: an Immersive Virtual Reality Game for Pain Distraction. After a brief overview of our work and what Chronic Pain is and how Pain Distraction works explained by the attention capacity theory, Servet explained the game mechanics and the design decisions involved in the creation of Mobius Floe, how the metaphors employed in the conception of the gameworld may help with the explanation of a complex affliction that can only be managed with a biopsychosocial approach.

Oct 13

Tyler Fox “hooded” by senior supervisor Dr. Gromala

As part of the tradition of earning a PhD, Tyler Fox was “hooded” by his senior supervisor Dr. Gromala at SFU’s Fall Convocation ceremonies in October. PhDs earn the degree and additions to the graduation gear, namely, a long silken hood and a Renaissance-looking cap. Dr. Fox is now on faculty and is the Studio Director for the 
Interactive Media Design program at the University of Washington.

http://www.tylersfox.com/about/

Fox_Gromala_SFU_graduation_2015

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