Yale studies virtual reality group therapy for cancer patients

New Haven, Conn.-based Yale School of Medicine is leading a study on virtual reality-based group therapy sessions for cancer patients.

Early indicators of the study have shown that VR-based group therapy sessions may help reduce the levels of anxiety and depression for cancer patients. The virtual setting eliminates the need for patients to travel to the hospital post-discharge. 

"A major factor in this study is the convenience for patients to enter a VR-based chat room, something that is especially useful for people with rare diseases or those who live in rural areas," said Asher Marks, MD, an assistant pediatrics professor at Yale, according to a news release emailed to Becker's Hospital Review. Dr. Marks is leading the study.

For the study, Yale is partnering with Foretell Reality, a company that provides VR co-working and collaboration spaces for groups and individuals. Study participants range in age from 13 to 30 years old, and they all have been diagnosed with cancer and treated within the past year. The participants will be given measurements to determine levels of anxiety, depression and resilience to see how VR group therapy compares to more traditional methods.

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