CANADA: 'Second Life' can be good for health

Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network's Centre for Innovation in Complex Care have found that a wide array of health-related activity - including fund-raising for medical research - occurs in the three-dimensional virtual world of Second Life, reports ScienceDaily.

Second Life reported over 16 million registered users worldwide in 2008. The web-based platform, which is often associated with pornography and 'cheating' spouses, is also used to educate people about illness, train physicians, nurses and medical students with virtual simulations, enable disease-specific support and discussion groups, fund-raise real-life dollars for medical research, and to conduct research.

The group found that health-related activities in the virtual world have significant implications in the real world. Dante Morra, Medical Director of the CICC, said although it is early in the development, there were great opportunities to use virtual worlds and social networks for education, research and even disease surveillance."
Full report on the ScienceDaily site