The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has issued two program announcements and two requests for applications related to Virtual Reality Technologies for Research and Education in Obesity and Diabetes: a research project grant (PA-11-211), an exploratory and developmental research grant award (PA-11-212), a small business innovation research grant (RFA-HL-12-020) and a small business technology transfer grant (RFA-HL-12-024).

The announcements note that VR technology presents new opportunities to apply recent advances in sleep research in relation to obesity and diabetes risk by objectively evaluating individual sleep and alertness status, delivering personalized guidance on healthy sleep behaviors, implementing physician-recommended treatments, and assessing treatment outcomes in terms of changes in sleepiness, psycho-motor vigilance, and ocular markers of sympathetic tone. Sleep parameters, perceptive and affective aspects of sleepiness, and sleep deprivation consequences are all amenable to study with VR.