Image: The HIRREM brain autoregulation process (Photo courtesy of Wake Health).
A new study describes how a noninvasive brainwave mirroring technology can significantly reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military personnel.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Wake Health; Winston-Salem, NC, USA) conducted a pilot study of a noninvasive, closed-loop, acoustic stimulation system developed by Brain State Technologies (Scottsdale, AZ, USA). The neurotechnology solution, named high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM), is based on several computer software algorithms that translate specific brain frequencies into audible tones for the brain to hear. No cognitive activity or operant conditioning is required, and no attempt to force the brain into a specific pattern is made.
In the single-site study, 18 current service members or recent veterans who experienced symptoms of PTSD for a period of one to 25 years received an average of 19½ HIRREM sessions over a period of 12 days. The researchers collected symptom data, including PTSD, insomnia, anxiety, and depression, both before and after the study sessions, with follow-up online interviews held at one-, three- and six-month intervals. In addition, both heart rate and blood pressure readings were recorded at baseline to analyze downstream autonomic balance with heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS).
The results revealed clinically relevant, significant reductions in all symptom scores, with significant improvements in multiple measures of both HRV and BRS, including systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure, as well as reaction testing. Trends were seen for improved grip strength and a reduction in C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Angiotensin II to Angiotensin 1–7 ratio, and Interleukin-10, with no change in DNA n-methylation. There were no dropouts or adverse events reported. The study was published on December 22, 2017, in Military Medical Research.
“This study is the first to show an increase in both HRV and BRS, which are significant indicators of the capacity of the brain to exert dynamic and adaptive regulation of peripheral physiology, following an intervention provided to military personnel or veterans with PTS,” concluded senior author professor of neurology Charles Tegeler, MD. “The composite intervention profile points to the promise of allostatic neurotechnology for system-level PTS management. Ongoing investigations are strongly warranted.”
By reflecting brainwaves as an acoustic mirror, a resonance is created between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, helping the brain to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal, without conscious, cognitive, activity required by the PTSD patient. The result is a support platform that helps the brain to reset stress response patterns previously “rewired” by a single or by repetitive traumatic events, physical, or nonphysical.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Brain State Technologies