Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


VP gets re-appointed

Another vote for SOGS

UBC to put its money on lobbying the banks

Viagra pops its head into London stores

Soothing surgical pain

Small ends his year with balanced books


Chomping down on useful etiquette

Caught on campus

Soothing surgical pain

By Jennifer Gabriel
Gazette Writer

Two researchers believe they have invented a device which will minimize the anxiety children experience before an operation.

Geoffrey Hart, a professor at Tuft University in Massachusetts and Western pediatrics professor Patricia McGrath have developed a headset which works by combining both a sedative and interactive video to relax a patient's anxiety and pain, Hart said. If the tests of this device are successful it will replace the need for needles.

Although the original idea was conceived in 1992, Hart said this device has only now been developed thanks to a $750,000 US grant from the Institute of Health in the United States. McGrath was approached later in the project to help with the production of the device.

"After travelling around the world I have found the common problem among patients is pain. This device offers a positive alternative, especially one that children will accept," McGrath said.

Still, the use of the device would not be restricted to children. "This device would benefit many people, not only children. Adults with special needs would also benefit from this device," she said.

Specialists from the medical and psychology fields were teamed up with videologists and product development programmers to develop a device to sedate children, Hart explained. "This prototype will diminish children's pain in a controlled environment without restraints," he said.

One of the advantages of using the device is the reduction of time a patient would normally need to recover from the sedative, Hart said.

"I see it as a benefit to children. If you can avoid needles and restraint by using this device then it should be used. I can see it being used widely in Canada and London," said Meera Manchanda, a local pediatrician.

The new device will undergo testing in three to six months on children having operations. Cancer patients will also be tested to see how the device works in the relief of treatment pains.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999