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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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VR can improve quality of life for people with dementia

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Virtual reality (VR) technology could vastly improve the quality of life for people with dementia by helping to recall past memories, reduce aggression and improve interactions with caregivers, new research by the University of Kent has discovered.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) including Dr Jim Ang and PhD candidate Luma Tabbaa, took place at mental healthcare provider St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton.

Eight patients aged between 41 and 88 who are living with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease took part in the study. Each patient used a VR headset to ‘visit’ one of five virtual environments (VEs) of a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach, and a countryside scene. Sixteen sessions were monitored with feedback gathered from patients and their caregivers.

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