martedì 26 maggio 2009

Health-related activities in virtual worlds influence the real life

Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network’s Centre for Innovation in Complex Care (CICC) have found that a wide array of health-related activity occurs in the three-dimensional virtual world of Second Life.

The web-based platform, is often used to educate people about illness, train physicians, nurses and medical students with virtual simulations, enable disease-specific support and discussion groups, fundraise real-life dollars for medical research, and to conduct research.

The group found that health-related activities in the virtual world have significant implications in the real world.

Jennifer Keelan, the principal investigator on the project, suggests that a major feature for users is the “relative anonymity where patients can seek out information and share health experiences in a safe environment. There is also a great potential for patients to ‘practice being patients’ by virtually experiencing a mammogram or navigating a hospital’s virtual ward — they can gain insight into medical procedures and processes to become more informed.”

The group’s findings have been published in the open access publication Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and are freely available at

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