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Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Presents $97,500 Veteran's Cash Grant to Alexian Brothers Hospital Network
Date:2/3/2009

- Hospital Unveils 3-D Virtual Reality PTSD Combat Simulator -

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director Tammy Duckworth presented the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network with a $97,500 Veteran's Cash grant on Monday, February 2, at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, located in Elk Grove Village. The grant will help Alexian Brothers provide advanced diagnostic and treatment services to Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and for new advanced technology to help differentiate and care for the two signature wounds of the current conflicts.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090203/CG66169)

The Veteran's Cash lottery ticket is the state's first scratch-off Lottery ticket where 100 percent of the net proceeds go to non-profit organizations that help provide a wide range of services to Illinois Veterans including health care and insurance, PTSD treatment, disability benefits, and housing assistance.

"The Veteran's Cash lottery ticket is an easy way that residents can enhance the services and treatment provided to our state's military heroes. All of the money raised from the ticket goes directly to organizations that help Veterans deal with a variety of issues they are facing including post traumatic stress disorder, homelessness and disability benefits," said IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth. "I am pleased to present Alexian Brothers Hospital Network with this Veteran's Cash grant to help our Veterans and service members get the treatment they need so they can live healthy and stable lives."

The Veteran's Cash grant will help Alexian Brothers fund a new Virtual Reality PTSD combat simulator. The simulator is the first Virtual Reality system in Illinois designed specifically to treat PTSD patients who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan. The simulator re-creates battle conditions in a 3-D environment utilizing the most advanced Virtual Reality technology available to date. Participating veterans are shown simulations through a special headset and goggle system, in which they area able to hear, see, smell, and "move" through various urban combat scenarios, such as "Virtual Iraq".

The approach is a new form of immersion therapy which allows patients to face their fears in a safe monitored environment while allowing researchers to better understand how symptoms of PTSD develop. "Immersion therapy is important because it hardens neural pathways in the brain desensitizing patients to certain experiences," according to Dr. Jeffrey Lewine, neuroscientist and executive director of Alexian Brothers' Center for Brain Research. "The idea is to involve as many of the patient's senses as possible." The system engages the senses, using a vibrating floor platform, virtual reality goggles to eliminate peripheral vision and track where the patient is turning in both real and virtual space, large earphones and a machine that emits scents reminiscent of war zones.

Since the beginning of 2007, IDVA has granted more than $4.7 million to organizations supporting Veterans from around the state. Grants have ranged from $2,500 for clothing, food and transportation to local VA hospitals for sick and homeless Veterans, to $125,000 for the expansion of a homeless shelter.


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SOURCE Alexian Brothers Hospital Network
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