On the 17th April 2018, I gave an invited talk at the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University, Czech Republic as part of the ‘Informatics Colloquium’ series. The title of my presentation was ‘Virtual Reality Assessment for Examining Functional Neurological Symptoms’. The presentation provided an overview of the initial results obtained through the project which was awarded by the Ministry of Health of CR Research Programme. Functional neurological symptoms (FNS) are somatic symptoms that still remain poorly understood. Their diagnosis is made by exclusion of organic cause and therefore does not provide any specific cues for the subsequent treatment.
This presentation evaluated immersive virtual reality as a potential therapeutic tool for a treatment of functional neurological symptoms. The first part examined the effects of immersive virtual reality intervention on changes in autonomic arousal in FNS (in both healthy subjects and patients) by introducing emotional stress. The effect of immersion manipulation on changes in emotional reactivity to stress inducing stimuli is assessed by measuring skin conductance and heart rate variability. The second part examined how biofeedback affects immersive virtual reality intervention on effective connectivity patterns in patients with FNS.