Assessing Virtual Experience of Indoor Chemical Exposure

Measuring the Physiological Responses to Virtual Experience of Indoor Chemical Exposure

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jie Yin

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) has a huge impact on patients’ quality of life, while its pathophysiology still poorly understood. The symptoms cannot be explained by traditional toxicological dose-response relationship, which states that chemicals only affect an organism if above a threshold dose. It is difficult to separate the toxicological, physiological and psychological aspects of MCS due to the heterogeneity of exposure conditions. Understanding the physiological pathways of MCS while controlling for potential psychological factors would be particularly important to identify the triggering events of MCS symptoms. Therefore, we propose a pilot project to assess the impact of visual experiences in spaces associated with various indoor chemical exposures on individual’s physiological responses by using virtual reality (VR) and wearable bio-monitoring sensors. The outcomes will be an essential foundation for future clinical studies of MCS patients. This study may provide valuable insight for the future development of effective therapeutic interventions.

Products resulting from Hoffman support

Yin J, Yuan J, Arfaei N, Catalano PJ, Allen JG, Spengler JD. Effects of biophilic indoor environment on stress and anxiety recovery: A between-subjects experiment in virtual reality. Environ Int. 2020 Mar;136:105427. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105427. Epub 2019 Dec 24. PMID: 31881421.

Yin J, Arfaei N, MacNaughton P, Catalano PJ, Allen JG, Spengler JD. Effects of biophilic interventions in office on stress reaction and cognitive function: A randomized crossover study in virtual reality. Indoor Air. 2019 Nov;29(6):1028-1039. doi: 10.1111/ina.12593. Epub 2019 Sep 11. PMID: 31418925.