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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 515730, 8 pages
Research Article

Virtual Visual Effect of Hospital Waiting Room on Pain Modulation in Healthy Subjects and Patients with Chronic Migraine

1Biomedical, Neuroscience and Sensory System Department, Bari Aldo Moro University, Policlinico General Hospital, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 11 70124 Bari, Italy
2Automation and Control Unit, Informatic Engignery Division, Cetma Consortium Mesagne, Appia Way No. 7, 72100 Brindisi, Italy
3Antonaci and Partner Studio, Mazzini Place, 73100 Lecce, Italy

Received 10 November 2012; Revised 17 December 2012; Accepted 17 December 2012

Academic Editor: S. Evers

Copyright © 2013 Marina de Tommaso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Environmental context has an important impact on health and well being. We aimed to test the effects of a visual distraction induced by classical hospital waiting room (RH) versus an ideal room with a sea view (IH), both represented in virtual reality (VR), on subjective sensation and cortical responses induced by painful laser stimuli (LEPs) in healthy volunteers and patients with chronic migraine (CM). Sixteen CM and 16 controls underwent 62 channels LEPs from the right hand, during a fully immersive VR experience, where two types of waiting rooms were simulated. The RH simulated a classical hospital waiting room while the IH represented a room with sea viewing. CM patients showed a reduction of laser pain rating and vertex LEPs during the IH vision. The sLORETA analysis confirmed that in CM patients the two VR simulations induced a different modulation of bilateral parietal cortical areas (precuneus and superior parietal lobe), and superior frontal and cingulate girus, in respect to controls. The architectural context may interfere with pain perception, depending upon the status of subject. Many variables may change patients’ outcome and support the use of VR technology to test the best conditions for their management.