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Brief Report

Translating Virtual Reality Cue Exposure Therapy for Binge Eating into a Real-World Setting: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 401 Quarry Rd, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
2
PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium, 1791 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
3
Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, 20095 Milan, Italy
4
Centro Studi e Ricerche di Psicologia della Comunicazione, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milan, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Debra Safer and Cristin Runfola contributed equally to this work and should be considered joint senior authors.
Academic Editor: José Gutiérrez-Maldonado
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(7), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071511
Received: 2 March 2021 / Revised: 29 March 2021 / Accepted: 2 April 2021 / Published: 5 April 2021
Binge-eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) have adverse psychological and medical consequences. Innovative interventions, like the integration of virtual reality (VR) with cue-exposure therapy (VR-CET), enhance outcomes for refractory patients compared to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Little is known about the feasibility and acceptability of translating VR-CET into real-world settings. To investigate this question, adults previously treated for BED or BN with at least one objective or subjective binge episode/week were recruited from an outpatient university eating disorder clinic to receive up to eight weekly one-hour VR-CET sessions. Eleven of 16 (68.8%) eligible patients were enrolled; nine (82%) completed treatment; and 82% (9/11) provided follow-up data 7.1 (SD = 2.12) months post-treatment. Overall, participant and therapist acceptability of VR-CET was high. Intent-to-treat objective binge episodes (OBEs) decreased significantly from 3.3 to 0.9/week (p < 0.001). Post-treatment OBE 7-day abstinence rate for completers was 56%, with 22% abstinent for 28 days at follow-up. Among participants purging at baseline, episodes decreased from a mean of one to zero/week, with 100% abstinence maintained at follow-up. The adoption of VR-CET into real-world clinic settings appears feasible and acceptable, with a preliminary signal of effectiveness. Findings, including some loss of treatment gains during follow-up may inform future treatment development. View Full-Text
Keywords: eating disorder; binge-eating disorder; bulimia nervosa; binge eating; cue-exposure; therapy; treatment; virtual reality eating disorder; binge-eating disorder; bulimia nervosa; binge eating; cue-exposure; therapy; treatment; virtual reality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nameth, K.; Brown, T.; Bullock, K.; Adler, S.; Riva, G.; Safer, D.; Runfola, C. Translating Virtual Reality Cue Exposure Therapy for Binge Eating into a Real-World Setting: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study. J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10, 1511. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071511

AMA Style

Nameth K, Brown T, Bullock K, Adler S, Riva G, Safer D, Runfola C. Translating Virtual Reality Cue Exposure Therapy for Binge Eating into a Real-World Setting: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021; 10(7):1511. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071511

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nameth, Katherine, Theresa Brown, Kim Bullock, Sarah Adler, Giuseppe Riva, Debra Safer, and Cristin Runfola. 2021. "Translating Virtual Reality Cue Exposure Therapy for Binge Eating into a Real-World Setting: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study" Journal of Clinical Medicine 10, no. 7: 1511. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071511

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