Virtual reality and psychophysiological sensors being used to distinguish PTSD from other conditions

For those suffering from PTSD, an accurate diagnosis is important in order to provide appropriate treatment. For this reason Draper is developing a new capability that combines virtual reality data with psychophysiological sensor.

Draper PTSD virtual diagnosis

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, as it can resemble other mental health conditions like clinical depression or anxiety. But there are specific treatments for the disorder that make an accurate diagnosis important.

PTSD is most prevalent with veterans, but it also affects about seven percent of the civilian population. Many people experiencing symptoms go to a primary care physician, but those physicians don’t always have the expertise to make certain distinctions, plus it’s very subjective in general. For this reason Draper is developing a new capability that combines virtual reality data with psychophysiological sensor.

A company statement about this development explained a bit about how it works:

Sensors monitor biomarkers, including the patients’ heart rate, sweat, and pupil diameter, while test subjects experience different types of audio and visual stimuli. Software then analyzes the data from the sensors to develop an objective diagnostic decision. This approach provides a new research-based diagnostic capability that, with additional studies to validate effectiveness, could be used by practicing clinicians to enable more-effective and more-efficient patient care.

Draper demonstrated how this technology can be effective for accurate diagnosis previously in an issue of IEEE Pulse, as well as Brain and Behavior and the International Journal of Pyschophysiology.

The company is continuing with trials, but believes this could be a very effective, new way to address this prominent issues with mental health treatment.

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Photo: Screenshot via Draper