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科学家们研究虚拟现实能否预防记忆衰退

Scientists Study Whether Virtual Reality Can Prevent Memory Loss

科学家们研究虚拟现实能否预防记忆衰退

For three days a week, Wayne Garcia has been taking part in a nontraditional exercise.

韦恩·加西亚每周有3天都在参加一项非常规的运动。

He starts by putting on virtual reality (VR) equipment on his head. He then gets on a specially designed exercise bicycle and starts pushing its pedals. Faster and faster he goes.

他首先在头上戴上虚拟现实设备。然后,他开始骑上一辆专为健身而设计的单车并开始蹬踏板。他蹬得越来越快。

Garcia is taking part in a study at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. Researchers want to see if just a small amount of VR can help prevent memory loss as people age.

加西亚正在参加南加州大学凯克医学院的一项研究。该研究的研究人员想要弄清楚少量的虚拟现实是否有助于防止随年龄增长而导致的记忆衰退。

Garcia says he remembers how his parents and grandparents all suffered from dementia.

加西亚说, 他记得他的父母和祖父母是如何遭受痴呆症的痛苦。

It's very scary that one day that could be me.

“有一天可能就轮到我啦,好可怕!”

Garcia recalls his father once reading a newspaper upside down and almost setting the house on fire by putting a towel on a heater.

加西亚想起他的父亲上下颠倒地看报纸,把毛巾放在炉子上差点把房子烧了。

Just the sadness — you remember what your dad was like, what your mom was like when they were all good, and then the decline now. And now you're taking care of them rather than when they used to take care of you.

“好悲伤,我记得父母健康时的样子,然后现在变得这样衰弱。现在轮到我来照顾他们,而不是像过去那样由他们来照顾我。”

Garcia is taking part in the study to see if using virtual reality at the same time as physical exercise can help prevent dementia in the future.

加西亚参加了这项研究,看看在锻炼的同时使用虚拟现实是否有助于预防未来的痴呆症。

Judy Pa is part of the team of researchers leading the study. She says the actual definition of "dementia is when a person is no longer able to take care of themselves, things like paying the bills, driving, cooking for themselves, dressing themselves."

朱迪·帕是领导这项研究的研究团队中的一员。她说,老年痴呆的真正定义是指一个人不再能照顾好自己的时候,比如付账单、开车、自己做饭或是自己穿衣服。

She added that the break down and death of cells in the nervous system take 10 to 20 years.

她还说,神经系统细胞的分解和死亡需要10到20年。

Pa said that unlike usual games, VR provides a first-person, three-dimensional experience that is important to memory training.

帕表示,与普通游戏不同,虚拟现实提供一种第一人称视角的三维体验,这对记忆训练来说非常重要。

Our goal is to prevent dementia (and) to prevent Alzheimer's disease. There are no effective treatments yet. We hope that we will get there eventually, but my perspective and the research that we do in my laboratory at USC is really surrounding prevention.

她说:“我们的目标是预防老年痴呆症。目前对这种疾病没有有效的治疗办法。我们希望最终能够实现这一目标,但是我的看法和我们在南加州大学实验室里做的研究实际上都是围绕预防进行的。”

The VR study exercises the subjects' body and brain at the same time, testing the memory and decision-making part of their brain.

这项虚拟现实研究让受试者的身体和大脑同时得到锻炼,是在测试他们大脑中的记忆和决策部分。

Subjects have to pedal on the exercise bike and keep their heart rate up. In the VR experience, they are trying to learn and remember directions while collecting food items, and then feeding the food to some animals.

受试者必须踏上健身单车并保持心率。在虚拟现实体验中,他们试图在收集食物的同时学习并记住方向,然后将食物喂给一些动物。

Understanding changes in the brain that happen with exercise, changes in the brain that happen when you're in an enriched environment and putting those two together, and that's what our intervention is currently targeting.

她说:“了解大脑在运动中发生的变化,以及大脑在丰富环境下发生的变化,并将两者结合到一起,这就是我们目前的干预目标。”

Even if virtual reality can help, it may not be for everyone. In one study, four out of 40 people withdrew from the research because they reported motion sickness. Pa will be doing more tests over the next year with participants who are 50 to 80 years old to gather additional information.

即使虚拟现实确实有所帮助,但它可能并不适合所有人。在一项研究中,40名受试者中有4人退出了研究,因为他们报告称产生了晕动症症状。帕将会在明年对50到80岁的受试者进行更多研究,以便收集更多信息。

Garcia is hopeful for what VR might mean for the future.

加西亚对虚拟现实的未来充满信心。

There might be a place where you could go, and you can get your daily dose of virtual reality and cardio to keep the mind going.

他说:“可能会有办法解决,你可以每天进行定量的虚拟现实活动和有氧运动来保持大脑清醒。”

I'm Jonathan Evans.

我是乔纳森·埃文斯。

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