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Igualada, Spain

Rus-Calafell M.,University of Barcelona | Gutierrez-Maldonado J.,University of Barcelona | Ribas-Sabate J.,Igualada General Hospital
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics | Year: 2012

Social skills training programmes are among the treatments of choice in schizophrenia. Virtual reality (VR) can improve the results obtained with traditional social skills programmes by helping to generalize the acquired responses to patients' daily lives. We present the results of a case study involving the application of an integrated VR programme for social skills training. A 30-year-old woman with a well-established diagnosis of schizophrenia was enrolled in the study. She completed four baseline sessions, 16 treatment sessions and four follow-up sessions three months after the end of the treatment. Using a multiple baseline across-behaviours design, three target behaviours were analysed: facial emotion recognition, social anxiety and conversation time. Symptoms and social function variables were also assessed. The results showed a positive change in the three target behaviours and improvements in interpersonal communication, assertiveness and negative symptoms. The VR programme proved useful for training the patient's social behaviour and, consequently, for improving her performance. © 2012 Interactive Media Institute and IOS Press.


Gutierrez-Maldonado J.,University of Barcelona | Rus-Calafell M.,University of Barcelona | Marquez-Rejon S.,University of Barcelona | Ribas-Sabate J.,Igualada General Hospital
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics | Year: 2012

Emotion recognition is known to be impaired in schizophrenia patients. Although cognitive deficits and symptomatology have been associated with this impairment there are other patient characteristics, such as alexithymia, which have not been widely explored. Emotion recognition is normally assessed by means of photographs, although they do not reproduce the dynamism of human expressions. Our group has designed and validated a virtual reality (VR) task to assess and subsequently train schizophrenia patients. The present study uses this VR task to evaluate the impaired recognition of facial affect in patients with schizophrenia and to examine its association with cognitive deficit and the patients' inability to express feelings. Thirty clinically stabilized outpatients with a well-established diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were assessed in neuropsychological, symptomatic and affective domains. They then performed the facial emotion recognition task. Statistical analyses revealed no significant differences between the two presentation conditions (photographs and VR) in terms of overall errors made. However, anger and fear were easier to recognize in VR than in photographs. Moreover, strong correlations were found between psychopathology and the errors made. © 2012 Interactive Media Institute and IOS Press.


Rus-Calafell M.,University of Barcelona | Gutierrez-Maldonado J.,University of Barcelona | Ribas-Sabate J.,Igualada General Hospital
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics | Year: 2013

Patients with psychosis exhibit a wide range of cognitive deficits which are associated with poor functioning and poor outcomes in psychosocial interventions. Recently, virtual reality (VR) has been demonstrated to be a useful tool for treatment and rehabilitation of these patients. We have developed and applied an integrated VR programme to improve social skills in people with schizophrenia: the Soskitrain. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the relationship between patients' cognitive deficits, their sense of presence and their ratings of the programme's acceptability. Twelve clinically stabilized outpatients with a well-established diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder underwent neuropsychological assessment prior to treatment, while after the intervention they completed a questionnaire about their sense of presence and the acceptability of the VR programme. Post-treatment results revealed a high sense of presence among patients, as well as good verisimilitude and high acceptance of the virtual environments. In addition, there were significant negative correlations between sense of presence and deficits in both delayed verbal learning and processing speed. The paper discusses the implications of cognitive impairment for the experience and acceptance of VR when treating psychotic patients. © 2013 Interactive Media Institute and IOS Press.


Pla-Sanjuanelo J.,University of Barcelona | Ferrer-Garcia M.,University of Barcelona | Gutierrez-Maldonado J.,University of Barcelona | Riva G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | And 10 more authors.
Appetite | Year: 2015

Background: Binge eating behavior constitutes a central feature of both bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED). Cue exposure therapy (CET) has been proposed as an effective intervention. Objective: To determine which situations and specific cues trigger higher levels of binge craving and to use the results in the development of virtual reality scenarios in which CET could be applied with BN and BED patients. Method: Participants were 101 outpatients, 50 with BED and 51 with BN, according to DSM-5 criteria, and 63 healthy undergraduate students who completed a self-administered questionnaire to assess binge craving. Results: The likelihood of binge craving in the clinical group was greater when alone at home, during the afternoon/early evening and in the late evening/at night, at weekends, and at dinner time or between meals. Higher levels of craving were produced in the kitchen, bedroom, dining room, and bakery situations. With regard to the specific cues reported, the presence of and access to high calorie food and snacks was the most commonly reported cue. Although some gender differences regarding triggering factors were obtained, no statistical differences were observed between ED subtypes. BN and BED patients showed significantly higher levels of binge craving than controls in all the contexts except when feeling positive affect; in this situation, levels of craving were low in both groups. Conclusions: This information regarding trigger contexts and specific cues can be used to create valid and reliable virtual environments for CET. Indeed, the data from this study may serve to develop a wide range of situations with different levels of binge craving, in which the therapeutic aim is to extinguish conditioned responses and facilitate the generalization of craving extinction. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Salazar G.,Hospital CST | Fragoso M.,Hospital CST | Vergez L.,Manresa General Hospital | Sergio P.,Igualada General Hospital | Cuello D.,Hospital CST
Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery | Year: 2011

Metoclopramide is a well-known anti-emetic drug with central and peripheral pharmacological effects. Some authors have reported metoclopramide as an adjunct therapy to other analgesics in patients with migraine attacks. Treatment of migraine headache using a mix of metoclopramide and an NSAID has been patented (European Patent EP1014961) as well as a short series showing great efficacy and tolerability of metoclopramide in patients wtih migraine attacks. We decided to conduct an open, single-blind, parallel control study in the emergency department to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of metoclopramide in patients with severe migraine attacks. 93 consecutive patients with severe migraine attacks were randomized into two groups (groups A and B). Patients in group A received 10mg of intravenous metoclopramide and patients in group B received 1 g of intravenous paracetamol. Patients were evaluated 5minutes before (baseline), 15, 30, 60 and 120 minutes after drug delivery, and before being discharged from the emergency department They were then contacted by phone 48 hours after being discharged from the hospital (phone questionnaire). Patients treated with either metoclopramide or paracetamol showed a significant reduction in the intensity of pain at the 120 minute time point, with an 86% and 82% improvement respectively. However, patients treated with metoclopramide showed a more rapid improvement at the 15 and 30 minute evaluations. Patients with severe migraine attacks treated with metoclopramide as monotherapy showed a significant improvement in terms of pain relief and a faster improvement in pain intensity compared to those treated with paracetamol. Metoclopramide and other dopamine antagonistic drugs should be considered a therapeutic option in severe migraine headache attacks. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers.

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