“Use of non-invasive neurotechnology by adolescents with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is associated with improvements in heart rate variability and changes in temporal lobe electrical activity.” 

Brain State Technologies is pleased to share news of the publication of outcomes for a series of adolescents with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, who used noninvasive neurotechnology developed by their company, in a clinical study.  POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that can be accompanied by a variety of debilitating symptoms including unexplained nausea, headache, dizziness, and low blood pressure.  According to Dr. Fisher at The Mayo Clinic, POTS may affect up to 1 in 100 teenagers, and it can significantly compromise quality of life including ability to work or attend school.  The study was conducted by the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Seven adolescents used High-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring, or HIRREM, to evaluate its potential impact on their symptoms and autonomic nervous system function.  After HIRREM, the adolescents demonstrated improved cardiovascular regulation in the form of increased heart rate variability.  Heart rate variability reflects the capacity of the heart to beat at dynamically flexible speeds, and greater variability is generally considered a marker of greater health or well-being.  Other research has shown that individuals whose heart rate tends to be more rigidly fixed have higher risk for various adverse health outcomes, and patients with POTS tend to have low heart rate variability.

The adolescents in this study also had greater symmetry in brain electrical activity at the temporal lobe regions after HIRREM, and they reported a trend for fewer POTS symptoms.  Four of them discontinued a medication for blood pressure management prior to beginning the HIRREM intervention, and they were able to remain off it during and after their sessions.  There were no adverse events.

Dr. John Fortunato was the lead author, and Dr. Charles Tegeler was the principal investigator for the study, that was published online December 8, 2015, in Experimental Brain Research.  In the paper’s discussion, the team pointed out that interventions for POTS tend to be focused on various separate organ systems that are affected in POTS, but that these organ systems are all under central management by the brain.  An effective brain-focused intervention should have the potential for improving a range of different symptoms or organ functions in POTS, for example headache, dizziness, nausea, and blood pressure regulation, without having to target any one on its own.

For many patients with POTS, medication-based treatment strategies are limited in how far they can help patients regain full quality of life, and they may have undesirable or unacceptable side effects.  The positive effects associated with the HIRREM intervention, along with its noninvasive character, suggest to the authors that HIRREM may have a favorable role as a new therapy for POTS.

The study was funded by a research grant from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc., which has supported research on HIRREM at Wake Forest School of Medicine since 2011.  Since 2012, the Wake Forest-Brain State team has published studies on use of HIRREM for individuals with insomnia, menopausal hot flashes, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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