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Redefining Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NEOMENTO (Redefining Virtual Reality Therapy for Anxiety Disorders)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-05-31

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) – the most common type of anxiety disorders – has severe emotional, financial and social consequences for patients, their families and their social networks. Affecting about 7% of Europeans at some point in their life, SAD produces substantial societal costs due to long lasting treatments and extensive periods of reduced working capacity. Currently used therapies are insufficient, leading to prolonged or even permanent disease progression.

To address this important problem, the project “​neomento​” strived to ​establish an innovative system for treating SAD by exploiting the proven therapeutic potential of advanced Virtual Reality (VR) technology.
It was planned to integrate for the first time biophysiological measures of the patients (heart rate, electrodermal activity) and real-time data analyses techniques with interactive 3D environments to provide a precise, flexible and time and cost-efficient therapeutic approach​.

Although the proposed project outcome was ambitious, given available time and budget, the project team managed to develop a technically viable product including all of the proposed features except for the integration of the eye tracking technology. The clinical validation process has already been started, generating promising outcomes. A larger clinical study, which is about to start with one of the clinical cooperation partners will ensure therapeutic effectiveness of the therapy software. Additionally, the team managed to successfully attract further funding from the German state, enabling them to pursue the remaining way towards a marketable and certified solution. As it was proposed and intended, the team will establish a spin-off company in order to commercialize the project outcome and realize socioeconomic effects.