MMVR 14 proceedings promote balance between sound medical education and accelerating technological change in health care

Amsterdam 31 January 2006The conference proceedings of the fourteenth edition of the annual "Medicine Meets Virtual Reality" (MMVR) event, held January 24-27, 2006 in Long Beach, California, have been published as the 119th volume in the series dedicated to Studies in Health Technology and Informatics by IOS Press in Amsterdam. This MMVR 2006 edition includes 127 papers addressing the challenges of coping with a health care system stressed by scientific promise, public expectation, economic and regulatory constraints, and human limitations. In their preface, the editors are relating the conference's general theme "Accelerating Change in Healthcare: Next Medical Toolkit" to quality medical education by experienced physicians. The earlier generation of physicians has to guide innovative aspirations in their novice successors helping them achieve flexible problem solving and adaptation within technological evolution.


There is almost no surgical speciality nor medical domain in this year's proceedings which has not been considered for virtual reality adoption by the 2006 MMVR participating authors. In addition, the papers address several fields of implementation including surgical simulation, augmented reality, the creation of virtual environments, soft tissue modelling issues, highly advanced uses of visualization, computer-aided design and surgery, and specific applications such as forensic medicine and the operating room environment.

Some thirty-eight papers are dedicated to the use of simulators and surgical training systems for arthroscopy, brain endoscopy, colonoscopy, cranofacial surgery, endovascular repair, hysteroscopy, interventional radiology, laparoscopy, minimally invasive surgery, neurosurgery, open surgery, and surgical wound treatment. An original approach is offered by two studies that describe the generation of virtual sonic environments for virtual kidney nephron simulation and to treat neurological trauma. Grid middleware plays an increasing role in setting up distributed virtual environments as is shown in three papers. The use of the right languages, nomenclature, databases and software frameworks when working with virtual reality applications also becomes more and more important, as stated in eight studies.

It goes without saying that the topic of assessment and medical education is scoring high among VR researchers. Some twenty papers specifically focus on surgeon skills training, student evaluation, multimedia education, and the creation of virtual patients. In this regard, a study about teaching to medical students how to break bad news to patients and their family members in combination with the use of high-fidelity human patient simulators is quite innovative. Two other studies in the more psychological field address stress management and pilot incapacitation.

An equally popular MMVR topic constitutes the complex modelling of soft tissue: some twenty papers are describing research done in this area focusing on the art of needle insertion, damping, smart avoidance of organ collision, tissue cutting and engineering, and surgical instrument tracking in the patient's body. Image-guided surgery, volume rendering, 3D stereoscopy, the use of male and female human datasets, haptics and navigation are treated in about thirty-five papers. One unusual study describes the "virtual unwrapping" of a mummified hand from Thebes.

Augmented Reality is the subject of six papers with a focus on applications for transcranial surgery and cranial implants design. The MMVR 2006 proceedings include 68 papers from the United States, as well as 45 European contributions, 15 studies conducted in Asia, 8 in Canada, 1 in Australia, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Brazil, and 1 in Israel. Thirteen of these papers have been delivered by transinternational and even transcontinental teams of authors.

  • Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 14 - Accelerating Change in Healthcare: Next Medical Toolkit
  • Edited by James D. Westwood, Randy S. Haluck, Helene M. Hoffman, Greg T. Mogel, Roger Philips, Richard A. Robb, and Kirby G. Vosburgh
  • Published by IOS Press - Amsterdam/Berlin/Oxford/Tokyo/Washington, DC
  • 2006 - 600 p.
  • ISBN 1 58603 583 5
  • Available from Paul Gijsbers at IOS Press - Nieuwe Hemweg 6B - 1013 BG Amsterdam - The Netherlands
    Phone: +31-20-688-3355 - Fax: +31-20-620-3419 - E-mail:

Leslie Versweyveld

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