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  • Virtual reality has been found effective for some mental disorders, while for many others weak methodology prevents conclusive evidence. Similar to other digital technologies, the field has particular demands for conducting clinical research which currently remain poorly addressed. In this commentary, we discuss the unique issues associated with the incorporation of virtual reality in clinical research. In addition, we elaborate on the possibility that these challenges may also be consequences of current funding and publication schemes, and speculate on specific improvement approaches that might be more compatible with the characteristics of clinical virtual reality research.

    • Benjamin Selaskowski
    • Annika Wiebe
    • Niclas Braun
    CommentOpen Access
  • Microdosing psychedelics is a growing practice among recreational users, claimed to improve several aspects of mental health, with little supporting empirical research. In this comment, we highlight the potential role of expectations and confirmation bias underlying therapeutic effects of microdosing, and suggest future avenues of research to address this concern.

    • Omer A. Syed
    • Benjamin Tsang
    CommentOpen Access
  • Youth in the United States are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Yet, brick-and-mortar mental healthcare, such as face-to-face therapy, is overwhelmingly inaccessible to youth despite research advances in youth mental health. Digital Mental Health tools (DMH), the use of technologies to deliver mental health assessments and interventions, may help to increase mental healthcare accessibility. However, for a variety of reasons, evidence-based DMH have not been successful in reaching youth in real-world settings, particularly those who are most encumbered with access barriers to mental healthcare. This Comment therefore focuses on increasing DMH reach and uptake by young people, particularly among minoritized youth, by engaging in community-based youth partnerships. This idea recognizes and grows from decades’ worth of community-based participatory research and youth partnerships successfully conducted by other disciplines (e.g., social work, public health, urban planning, education). Increasing uptake and engagement is an issue that is unlikely to be solved by adult-driven theory and design. As such, we emphasize the necessity of reframing youth input into DMH design and deployment from one-time participants to integral community-based partners. Indeed, recognizing and valuing their expertise to equitably address DMH implementation challenges, youth should help to pose the very questions that they will help to answer throughout the design and implementation planning for DMH moving forward.

    • Colleen Stiles-Shields
    • Giovanni Ramos
    • Alexandra M. Psihogios
    CommentOpen Access
  • Age is the main risk factor of neurodegenerative diseases, but environmental exposure and lifestyle are important candidates for understanding their etiology. Accumulating evidence suggests that “exposome”, described as the totality of human environmental exposures from conception onwards, represents major modifiable risk factors for most neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. In this commentary, we discuss and provide our opinion about the urgent need for a constructive dialog between political stakeholders, researchers, and physicians to implement specific strategies to counteract and reduce the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.

    • Fabio Cavaliere
    • Sinan Gülöksüz
    CommentOpen Access