3D Immersion Technology Now Helps Fighting Migraine (Video)

First Posted: Apr 20, 2013 02:16 AM EDT

Full 3D immersion is applied to a growing number of scientific applications, and one of them is now visualizing special brain scans of patients. The 3D brain is a novel way to examine data from images taken during a patient's actual migraine attack, says DaSilva, who heads the Headache and Orofacial Pain Effort at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute.

A video shared by the researchers shows the system in action: it is navigated by wearing special glasses that track the head movement of the viewer and with the help of a joystick. Equiped like this, pain researcher Alexandre DaSilva shows how to rotate and slice apart a large, colorful, 3-D brain floating in space in front of the viewers.

"This high level of immersion (in 3-D) effectively places our investigators inside the actual patient's brain image," DaSilva said.

Different colors in the 3-D brain give clues about chemical processes happening during a patient's migraine attack using a PET scan, or positron emission tomography, a type of medical imaging. With this new technique, the University of Michigan dentistry professor is hoping to better understand how our brains make their own pain-killing chemicals during a migraine attack.

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