Virtual hallucinations help understand schizophrenia medical images


Computer simulated ‘hallucinations’ are being used to help physicians empathise with schizophrenic patients.

This new programme, created by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, allows the user to experience symptoms of the disorder.

Participants sit in a darkened room with a polarized viewer, and even a fan to add the sense of smell to the experience.  The programme reproduces hallucinations experienced by patients with schizophrenia for the health care professional.

One participant, Audrey Pearson, told the St Louis Beacon that: “I’m always communicating with members [of the health centre where the programme is being piloted] asking ‘what is it like’ so I can have an understanding and be open-minded and empathetic toward what they are dealing with day-by-day.”

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