Newly appointed head of the Russian Health Ministry Veronika Skvortsova co-developed rehabilitation technology for victims of strokes where patients are turned into virtual dolphins, Moskovsky Komsomolets said on Wednesday.
People who sustain cerebral hemorrhage have trouble restoring their motor functions. To aid in recovery, Skvortsova and two other researchers proposed putting them into a virtual world where they impersonate dolphins, the report said.
The technology utilizes 3D helmets and motion sensors on the patient’s body that imitate feedback from the environment they are in, the daily said.
Acting like a dolphin in a simulated ocean stimulates previously inactive neurons in the damaged brain area, which can restore some of its motor functions that way, Skvortsova was cited as saying.
The minister, who was appointed on Monday, shares the patent for the technology with two other researchers, the daily said. It did not specify whether the group developed the hardware for the dolphin simulation by itself or simply utilized existing virtual world technologies for medical needs.
Skvortsova, 51, comes from a family of medics and has worked in Moscow hospitals since the 1980s. A correspondent member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and professor of medicine, she became Deputy Health and Social Development Minister in 2008 and was just recently promoted by President Vladimir Putin to head the revamped Heath Ministry in the new Cabinet.