More than 10 years ago, CyberTherapy (CT) began as a half-day symposium held as part of the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference, featuring presentations that dealt primarily with conceptual matters and future possibilities. CT has grown over the years in size and scientific evidence, evolving into an independent conference with pre-conference and post-conference workshops. CT highlights the largest program assembled on controlled clinical trials of virtual reality (VR) and advanced interactive technologies in the areas of mental health, rehabilitation, disabilities, training, and education. The quality and significance of research presented at CT conferences reaffirms the noteworthy role of VR in healthcare. Controlled trials have shown VR to be successful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, obesity, eating disorders, and a variety of other mental health disorders. It is also proving to be a powerful tool in neurological research, drug abuse treatment, pain distraction, and quality of life enhancement. Peripheral physiological measurements and non-invasive brain imaging (e.g., fMRI, fNIR, PET) are becoming standard for researchers seeking to quantify the VR experience. The specific intention of CT is to bring together the best researchers, clinicians, and representatives from funding agencies so that we may further strengthen and advance the efforts to improve healthcare through technology. The use of VR and other advanced interactive technologies continues to attract new investigators who come with fresh ideas and applications. We anticipate that future iterations of this annual international conference will continue to draw those interested in innovative technology to address healthcare needs across a variety of disciplines. More than half of the presenters at CT 2008 had not presented previously at this annual conference. We are excited to be able to bring diverse groups of professionals together to share information that benefits a broad spectrum of specialties in healthcare. The conference continues to attract a multidisciplinary group including drug abuse researchers, neuroscientists, computer scientists, graphic artists, biomedical engineers, mental health professionals, software industry leaders, and funding agency representatives. Psychologists can earn American Psychological Association continuing education credits. CT funding has been received for past conferences from Alliant University, Army Research Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Hanyang University, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, NATO, Naval Research Laboratory, NIDA, Office of Naval Research, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, Universiti du Quibec en Outaouais, and The Virtual Reality Medical Center.

Public Health Relevance

The annual international CyberTherapy conference brings together researchers and clinicians working to use advanced technology to address such diverse and persistent public health issues as chronic pain, drug abuse, and obesity. These are just a few of the areas in which virtual reality and other advanced technologies can play an important role, working adjunctive to current therapies to speed assessment and treatment. The CyberTherapy conference promotes the sharing of cutting-edge, advanced technology research and the translation of such research to mainstream clinical applications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1-MXG-S (05))
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Chambers, Jessica Campbell
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Interactive Media Institute
San Diego
United States
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