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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Mar 2023 - 10 Mar 2023



Abdominal/Pelvic Pain

2023 Feb

Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y)




Virtual Reality: A New Treatment Paradigm for Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction?


Lacy BE, Cangemi DJ, Spiegel BR


Disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBIs), previously called functional bowel disorders, are prevalent, reduce patients’ quality of life, and impose a significant negative economic impact on the health care system. Functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are 2 of the most common DGBIs. An overlying, and in many cases unifying, symptom for many of these disorders is the presence of abdominal pain. Chronic abdominal pain can be difficult to treat, as many antinociceptive agents are associated with side effects that limit their use and other agents may only partially improve, but not completely relieve, all aspects of the pain. Novel therapies to alleviate chronic pain and the other symptoms that characterize DGBIs are thus needed. Virtual reality (VR), a technology that immerses patients in a multisensory experience, has been shown to relieve pain in burn victims and other instances of somatic pain. Two recent novel studies have demonstrated that VR has the potential to play an important role in the treatment of functional dyspepsia and IBS. This article examines the development of VR, its role in the treatment of somatic and visceral pain, and its potential position in the treatment of DGBIs.