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Pain and fear. Who needs them? Fortunately, virtual reality technology can help. The National Institute of Mental Health has funded a study in which a survivor of the World Trade Center attack was treated with virtual reality technology. The woman's severe post-traumatic stress disorder had not improved with traditional therapy. Psychologists exposed her to six, one-hour VR therapy sessions with images of jets crashing into buildings amid animated explosions and sound effects, and virtual people jumping to their death from windows. Her symptoms were eliminated, according to an independent assessor. Doctors in Seattle have carried out similar, federally funded research on the use of VR along with morphine to ease the excruciating pain burn patients experience during daily bandage changes. Another study pointed to the use of VR to reduce dental pain. For details, check www.hitl.washington.edu/projects/burn.

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