Realidad virtual e inteligencia artificial, nuevas aliadas contra el dolor

VALÈNCIA (EFE/Concha Tejerino). Technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence (IA) and telerehabilitation are firm allies in the fight against pain, not only to alleviate pathology in patients but also because they can help reduce healthcare costs and avoid hospital admissions and even reduce drug consumption.

The Spanish Society of Pain (SED) has celebrated this week in Valencia with its eighteenth congress, where professionals were able to expose and learn the latest news about pain treatment and receive information about tools and technological devices that help them manage it.

Virtual reality

The objective of the virtual reality applied to pain is to deceive the brain so that the patient, for a moment, forgets what he has, and in moments where he can use it with greater intensity instead of taking an opiate or another medication.

As explained by EFE Héctor Beltránphysiotherapist and research professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, who during the Congress presented the presentation ‘Realidad virtual para huir de la realidad dolorosa’ so that the healthcare professionals could know the possibilities of use that tiene this technology in patients with pain .

“The technology has been used since a year ago, we have the tool, but the handicap is that the healthcare professionals don’t know how to apply it,” says Beltrán, who highlights that it is a cheap technology and can be applied to many patients, and that it can be applied “with el propio móvil y unas gafas de ten euros con un marco de plástico o de carton, no hace falta gastarse mil euros”.

Archive image.  Photo: KAROLINA GRABOWSKA/PEXELS

La realidad virtual, affirma, busca “engañar al cerebro” y puede hacerlo en forma de distracción viendo unas imágenes; interactuando con un juego que puede ser disparar a un marciano o girar con la cabeza un coche; o consiguiendo que el paciente use todo su recurso cerebral y su sistema nervioso esté en el juego generando alguna habilidad. Este último es “lo ideal”.

“Estás diciento al paciente con dolor que necesitas el 100% de su atención para executor algo -detalla- y al estar pendiente de hacer algo con la pantalla o la imagen que tenga delante no está pendiente del dolor que tiene, y éste merma”.

Although the effect of this alleviation of pain is temporary, he explains, “we know that the pain fluctuates and that at some point in the day it can increase. At that moment, the use of the virtual reality can reduce the pain and that the person deje tomar un rescate, que puede ser un opioide u otra medication”.

“Es un complemento, a día de hoy no se plantea como un sustituto, pero lo que está haciendo es quitarse esa medication, y eso es mucho más barato a nivel de sistema sanitario o del propio paciente en gasto médico”, he clara.

The specialist explains that the virtual reality has been used in any type of pain, tanto oncológico como antes o después de una surgical intervention or in burns, aunque su especialidad es su uso para el dolor en el system musculoesquelético, y advierte de que there are persons en las que esta tecnología puede generar efectos adversos, ya que “algunos se marean o directamente no les gusta”.

Although there is not much scientific literature in terms of realidad virtual y dolor, in the case of wanting to relax the patient, they usually put on pleasant images, and when it is the case of patients with burns, the technology gives them a new world. que disparar a muñecos de nieve, “todo lo contrario a lo que es quemarse”.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) can also help to detect human pain with greater precision and even for the development of new drugs against pain, according to the explanation Rafael Gonzálezdoctor in Neuroscience and assistant doctor in a research group on pain at the University of Granada that he directs Enrique José Cobo.

Although this tool is used in humans, the most important thing in the case of pain is to use it in groups such as babies, adults who cannot communicate in any way or experimental animals, because in general humans can tell where and when they fight. salary

For example, in the case of babies, artificial intelligence tools can be used to detect when they have pain, even before the nurse, to be able to administer the analgesic before what is normally given, which would mean that they would need a smaller amount of medication. para aliviar el dolor.

In the case of the research group where González participates, they are working on the search and development of a medication that allows patients with chronic pain to feel pain, and for that they are using experimental animals (rats) and artificial intelligence techniques.

Archive image.  Photo: PIXABAY

“The researcher observes and quantifies the number of responses, we record the animals on video and analyze the recordings through artificial intelligence. This allows us to classify the animal’s faces when they have pain and when they don’t, to obtain precise coordinates of the animal’s parts o evaluar respuestas complejas, como si el animal se está lamiendo el abdomen (lugar donde han hecho la incision para provocare el dolor)”.

Tras más de 300 días de grabaciones en vídeo conocen todo lo que hace el animal y pueden comparar entre los grupos para ver qué modificaciones el dolor posoperatorio y si el tratamiento con fármacos es capaz de revertir esos comportamientos.

Todo, he adds, “es de una manera automatica, no tienen ningún tipo de sesgo de trainamento del evaluador. El ordenador no se cansa, ni tiene un día malo ni está influido”.

The telerehabilitation option

El presidente del Congreso y jefe de la Unidad del Dolor del Hospital Clínico de València, el anesthesiologist Carlos Torneroalso highlights telerehabilitation as an actual tool to improve pain in patients.

De esta manera, el facultativo puede ver al paciente y rehabilitarle con una técnica interventionionista del dolor y organizando una serie de ejercicios que puede hacer en su casa. With an application, the phone and a camera can capture the range of movement and, based on that, modify the treatment every day according to the patient’s response.

“Son herramientas que están siendo utiles para los pacientes porque reducen los traslas a los hospitales y les permanente acudir a los centros de fisiotherapy totally en coordinación entre los distintos profesionales”, señala Tornero.

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