AAPB Virtual Poster Hall - Scientific Poster Presentations

AAPB Virtual Poster Hall - 2020-2022 Accepted Poster Presentations


The Efficacy of Casual Video Games in Reducing Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: Implications for Biofeedback Practitioners

Dr. Christina Davis, CTRS
Dr. Amelia Saul, LRT/CTRS


Contact Email: c.davis@csus.edu; asaul@fiu.edu

Researchers using electroencephalogram (EEG) have found a relationship between frontal alpha asymmetry and depression though results have been conflicting (Davidson &Henriques, 2000; Gotlib, 1998; Davidson, 1995). There is limited research on how casual videogames (CVG) affect alpha activity in individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other mood disorders.These following presentations will involve three clinical studies using HRV, EEG, psychological and somatic changes to determine the efficacy of video game play in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.      In studies conducted using EEG, researchers have found a relationship between alpha activity and depression. When alpha activity improves so does depression symptoms (Davidson, 1995). There is limited research on how biofeedback integrated causal videogames (CVG) affect alpha production for individuals who are clinically depressed. The purpose of this randomized controlled study was to determine whether a regimen of prescribed CVGs improved alpha production and correlate these changes with depression symptoms    The purpose of this presentation is to discuss a three part, multi-phased study that tested the influence of a regimen of prescribed CVG play on an individual’s alpha activity and mood, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Three phases of the study including methodology and results will be discussed in this presentation.


Take a Breath: The Efficacy of A Prescribed Paced Breathing Intervention to  Reduce Anxiety in College Students

Amelia D. Saul, PhD, LRT, CTRS  
Matthew T. Fish, PhD, LRT, CTRS, LPCA, BCB


Contact Email: asaul@fiu.edu

This study employed a randomized control repeated measures design to determine the effectiveness of a 2-week paced breathing intervention in reducing anxiety symptoms. I randomly assigned 35 healthy college students into the paced breathing group (n = 17) and the control group (n = 18). Participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and baseline heart rate variability (HRV) during Session-1 and Session-2. Participants in the paced breathing group were trained using HRV biofeedback training (HRV-BT) during both sessions and then practiced at home using a free smartphone application. At baseline, both groups had similar State Anxiety (S-Anxiety) scores and HRV, evidenced by the outcome standard deviation of the NN intervals (SDNN; a measure of HRV). Within-group analyses demonstrated a significant reduction in S-Anxiety for the paced breathing group during Session-1 (Time-1 vs. Time-2) and Session-2 (Time-3 vs. Time-4), p = .02 and p < .001, respectively; however, the control group did not. Between-group analyses comparing the paced breathing and control group at baseline (Time-1) to Session-2 (Time-3) did not reveal a significant S-Anxiety reduction; similarly, between-group changes for SDNN were not significant. In conclusion, the HRV-BT and paced breathing at home for 2 weeks participants significantly reduced short-term anxiety, but the long-term effects were not significant.



Effects Of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback With Mindfulness  On ‎Posttraumatic Stress And Depression In Veterans: Piloting A 3-Session Protocol

Donna L. Schuman, PhD, LCSW, BCB, BCN
Karen A. Lawrence, PhD
Ian Boggero, PhD
‎J. P. Ginsberg, PhD ‎
Debra K. Moser, PhD, RN


Contact Email: donna.schuman@uta.edu

In this waitlist randomized controlled pilot study, we tested a 3-clinical session mobile-app ‎adapted heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback protocol that included mindfulness training ‎‎(HRVBm) to determine effects on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, time and ‎frequency domain indicators of HRV, and acceptability and feasibility. Thirty-five veterans with ‎military-related trauma, 29 to 75, (M = 50.11, SD = 14.47), 13.9 % women (n = 5) and 8.3% Non-‎White (n = 3), recruited from a Veterans Affairs clinic and Vet Center, were randomized into ‎intervention (n = 18) and waitlist (n = 17) groups. PTSD, depression, and ECG-derived HRV time ‎‎(SDNN, RMSSD) and frequency (high, low) domains were measured at baseline after three ‎clinical HRVBm sessions, and at eight-week follow-up. During clinical sessions and until follow-up, ‎participants were instructed to practice five minutes, twice daily, using a mobile app and sensor. ‎Compared to waitlist, the intervention group saw significant improvement in depression and ‎SDNN, and marginal improvement in PTSD intrusion symptoms. The intervention was feasible ‎and acceptable based on an over 70% completion rate; however, only 27% had verifiable ‎moderate to high practice adherence. Results suggest the protocol may improve autonomic ‎functioning and address comorbid depression in veterans with PTSD.‎

Treating Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Combining Neurofeedback And ‎Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy In A Single Case Study

Rebecca White
Robert Turner, MD‎
Noah Arnold
Annie Bernica
Brigitte Lewis
Ronald Swatzyna, PhD


Contact Email: becca.white@pop.belmont.edu

This case study aimed to assess the efficacy of neurofeedback therapy and hyperbaric oxygen ‎therapy in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. There are few options for direct neurological ‎interventions at any time following a TBI and we propose that this combination of interventions ‎can contribute to functional improvements and neurogenesis years after sustaining a TBI. The ‎case at hand involved a patient who sustained a severe TBI after a motor vehicle accident. He ‎began HBOT and NFB years after the incident after exhausting multiple compensatory ‎interventions. This combination of treatments appears to show reductions in seizure activity ‎involved with posttraumatic epilepsy as well as improvements in language abilities following an ‎acquired aphasia, short-term memory, and executive functioning.‎

Innovative Multimodal Stress Assessment and Training Program to Enhance ‎Performance

Dejan Stankovic EdD, BCB


Contact Email: destankovic10@gmail.com

People approach performance challenges with technique practice and content study often ‎overlooking the profound impact stress can have on outcomes. The use of stress management ‎techniques as an adjunct to study and practice can substantially enhance performance. Here is a ‎report on several years of evolving work using an innovative multimodal stress assessment and ‎training program approach in over 80 participants. The findings show that all participants ‎expressed high satisfaction scores and post-program standardized test scores rose, on average, ‎‎56% from pre-post scores. These results show that this Innovative Multimodal Stress Assessment ‎and Training Program to Enhance Performance can accurately identify and implement a uniquely ‎impactful mindfulness training technique for each participant, which can then result in improved ‎performance on standardized testing.‎

The Effects Of The Spironess Conditioning Method On Cardiorespiratory ‎Function Compared To Step-Wise-Paced Breathing In Sedentary Adults

Phoebe L. Manalang


Contact Email: phoebe@daywaneti.com

Breathing techniques have been employed to improve cardiorespiratory function, emotional ‎regulation and mental health. Aside from aerobic exercise, there are few breathing methods that ‎focus specifically on respiratory conditioning.     The Spironess method focuses on the ‎conditioning of the respiratory musculature with the assumption that improved physiological ‎function will improve respiratory function.     The results presented in this work indicate that the ‎Spironess method leads to significant improvements in systolic blood pressure and resting ‎respiratory rates apart from exercise. Although the Spironess method is not designed to replace ‎aerobic exercise, it does offer some benefits found through aerobic exercise that would benefit ‎populations that are immobilized or precluded from partaking in aerobic exercise.     The findings ‎in this study also provides a methodology to globally improve the musculature needed to execute ‎all breathing techniques which could directly correlate to the amount of time needed to benefit ‎from the various breathing techniques used across disciplines.    This pilot study builds on the ‎previous work of Dr. Florence Villien, the creator of the Spironess Method.‎

Remote HRV Biofeedback to Manage Stress in COVID-19 Frontline Hospital ‎Workers

Darlene Lee, ND, MSW, BCB  ‎
Ashwini Erande, MS, MPH  ‎
Georgia Christodoulou, PhD  ‎
Brenna Champlin  ‎
Maddison Thivierge, ND  ‎
Shaista Malik, MD, PhD, MPH


Contact Email: darlenl1@hs.uci.edu

To meet the urgent need for innovative, effective, and accessible approaches to mitigate the ‎impact of stress on healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a remote ‎biofeedback program.  Our objective was to implement a heart rate variability biofeedback ‎‎(HRV-BF) stress management program in a population of frontline healthcare workers and ‎measure its effectiveness when offered through remote technology and telemedicine compared ‎to in-person HRV-BF program. In this trial, we randomized frontline medical and nursing trainees ‎at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center between November 2020 and May 2021 ‎to either a 10-day HRV-BF intervention consisting of a series of five 30-minute one-on-one ‎telemedicine sessions and accompanying home practices (n=32) or an identical intervention ‎delivered in person (n=15).  Validated survey tools were administered pre and post intervention, ‎as well as before and after each individual session. The results of the study demonstrate the non-‎inferiority of telemedicine HRV-BF when compared to HRV-BF delivered in-person, with ‎implications for accessibility and effectiveness of stress management interventions for frontline ‎workers and first responders during future pandemics/surges, natural disasters, and other ‎emergencies which may strain the healthcare system and its staff.‎

HRV Biofeedback and Substance Cravings in an  Outpatient ‎Treatment Program
Andrew Nyx, PhD  ‎
Richard Gevirtz, PhD, BCB  ‎
Anna Pollard, MA, BCB


Contact Email: anyx@alliant.edu, apollard@alliant.edu

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of an HRV biofeedback intervention among ‎individuals attending an outpatient Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) or Intensive Outpatient ‎Program (IOP) for substance abuse or co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders ‎on self-report craving. Twenty-two participants in the HRV Biofeedback group and 21 participants ‎in the TAU group completed data collection for pre-post time period. Each participant completed ‎the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale-Modified (PACS-M) to assess alcohol or drug cravings at pre-post- ‎and follow-up. Participants in the HRV biofeedback condition received five, once weekly ‎biofeedback sessions. Results showed a statistically significant group by time interaction ‎between groups for PACS-M scores (F (2, 84) = 4.09, p = .020, ƞp2= .089), indicating that the HRV ‎biofeedback intervention group experienced a reduction in cravings significantly greater than the ‎TAU group with a medium effect size (Cohen’s d = .625) and power of .712. Results appear to ‎indicate a faster reduction of cravings among those receiving HRV biofeedback, which can be ‎maintained over time. Results also demonstrated that the technique helped those in the HRV ‎biofeedback condition with the highest craving severity reduce their cravings.‎

A Three-Subject Practice Study On Disordered Breathing Related To ‎Compression Chest Binding, Which May Cause Anxiety

Bonnie Cardell, PhD, Candidate Saybrook University


Contact Email: bcardell@saybrook.edu

People on the Trans Masculine Identity Spectrum (TMIS) who bind their chest to appear more ‎congruent with their chosen gender identity may experience anxiety due to decreased breathing ‎efficiency. Research supports anxiety as a possible result of restricted breathing (Courtney, Cohen ‎& van Dixhoorn, 2011; Kunik, Roundy, Veazey, Souchek & et al., 2005; MacHose & Peper, 1991). ‎It is, therefore, possible that generalized anxiety can be a subsequent symptom of frequent ‎compression chest binding. A state of hypocapnia, measured by end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2), ‎can cause physiological symptoms of anxiety (Courtney et al., 2011). This study examined the ‎effects of compression chest binding on hypocapnia, measured in EtCO2 via capnometry. The ‎primary investigator took measures at rest and after exercise, while not binding, then binding. ‎The primary investigator also administered other supporting psychophysiological measures, ‎including the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) (Spielberger, Gorsuch & Luchene, ‎‎1970), and a preliminary Nijmegen Questionnaire (Chaitow, Gilbert & Bradley, 2014), for ‎recognizing disordered breathing. Clinical observations of adolescents who were chest bound and ‎reported increased anxiety in anticipation of physical education classes informed the primary ‎hypothesis that compression chest binding restricts the breathing mechanism, causing ‎hypocapnia, forcing a trend towards increased state anxiety.‎

Drug Cue Reactivity And Craving Correlates In Buprenorphine-Maintained ‎Opioid Addicts

Erik Ortiz ‎
Irene Pericot-Valverde
‎Alain Litwin
Kaileigh Byrne
Ashley Coleman  ‎
Mohamed Shaban ‎
Estate Sokhadze, PhD


Contact Email: tatosokhadze@yahoo.com

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major public health problem. Maintenance treatment with ‎medication for OUD (MOUD), such as buprenorphine, has been associated with reductions in ‎physical symptoms of withdrawal, but attentional bias towards drug cues and craving may ‎contribute to the high rates of noncompliance to MOUD and relapse. This study was aimed at ‎comparison of EEG oscillations during exposure to drug-related and neutral images in MOUD and ‎control participants for investigation of attention biases and craving persistent in MOUD. We ‎recruited 10 MOUD outpatients. The cue reactivity test used emotionally neutral pictures and ‎drug-related images. The study used blocked design (16 images/per block, 3 s per/image) with ‎post-block subjective rating of craving. EEG from 4 frontal sites was recorded with Nexus-10. ‎Time-frequency analysis of EEG was performed to assess evoked, induced, and late oscillations ‎during neutral and drug blocks. Exposure to drug cues in the MOUD group resulted in increased ‎gamma and decreased theta oscillations along with electrodermal responses. These cue ‎reactivity indices reflect heightened attentional bias to drug items and vulnerability to relapse in ‎patients on MOUD and may serve as objective treatment outcomes complementing subjective ‎craving reports and clinical evaluations.‎

Cognitive Processing Therapy and Biofeedback Training: A treatment pilot study
Ann A. Stalcup M.S. and Valerie Perez M.A.  Mentor: Dr. Heather Ingram PsyD, BCB, ‎BCN

Digital Poster

Contact Email: aastalcup17fl@ollusa.edu

Treatment addressed brain activity readings, long history of childhood sexual abuse ‎‎(CSA), and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Researchers examine the potential ‎benefits of adding a Neurofeedback and Biofeedback training to Cognitive Processing ‎Therapy. Researchers found improvements on posttraumatic stress disorder and other ‎related psychological symptoms in women who had experienced sexual abuse. ‎Participant symptomatology was tracked using the Patient Health Questionnaire and ‎Posttraumatic Checklist for DSM-5 over the course of 12 sessions. Symptoms were ‎significantly reduced by the end of the 12-week therapy with the most improvement ‎showed by the fifth session. Researchers developed a PTSD treatment protocol where ‎Biofeedback, Neurofeedback, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are utilized to treat ‎clients at InMindOut Emotional Wellness Center, LLC.‎

AAQ-II Measure of Individuals’ Avoidance Levels Association with Physiological ‎Responses during Self-Critical and Self-Compassionate Writing Tasks
Katelyn Jackman, Mikel Cressman, Kimberly Parsell, Samira Ghalkhani, Derek ‎Bartlett, & Patrick Steffen

Digital Poster

Contact Email: nance.katelyn@gmail.com

Individuals characterized as avoidant may experience lower than average heart rate ‎variance (HRV) when facing stressful stimuli. Past research has found a significant ‎difference in HRV for individuals high in avoidance. The purpose of this study is to ‎examine whether levels of avoidance measured by the Acceptance and Action ‎Questionnaire 2nd Edition (AAQ-II) may predict an individual's HRV. Data was ‎collected via administration of the AAQ-II to undergraduate students at Brigham Young ‎University prior to a lab visit. At the lab visit, participants were then randomly assigned ‎to one of three experimental groups (CFT Soothing Rhythm Breathing, Biofeedback, or ‎watching a Nature Video). After participants engaged in their assigned breathing ‎intervention, they wrote self-critically for 5 minutes, then wrote self-compassionately ‎for 5 minutes. We hypothesized that the participants ranked as avoidant by the AAQ-II ‎would have comparably higher HRV at baseline, lower HRV during the self-critical ‎writing exercise, and would show poor HRV recovery after the exercise. However, we ‎found no significant data indicating a difference in HRV for participants with higher ‎scores of avoidance. Further analysis will examine the extremity of avoidant scores in ‎these participants, the effect of the breathing treatment, and other possible confounds.‎

Event-related Potential Study of Visual Oddball Test in Children with Autism ‎Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Comorbid Autism and ADHD, and Neurotypical ‎Children
Estate M. Sokhadze, PhD, BCN, Lonnie Sears, PhD, Allan Tasman, MD, Desmond ‎Kelly, MD, and Manuel F. Casanova, MD

Digital Poster

Contact Email: sokhadze@greenvillemed.sc.edu

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ADHD are two of the most common childhood ‎neurodevelopmental disorders. DSM-5 does not preclude the concurrent diagnosis of ‎ADHD and ASD (ASD+ADHD). This study aimed to better understand the distinctions ‎and similarities in manifestations of executive deficits among these conditions.  We ‎used analysis of reaction time (RT)/accuracy and event-related potentials (ERP) during ‎performance on a visual oddball task with illusory figures. Participants were age-‎matched children (N=18 per group) with ASD, ADHD, comorbid ASD + ADHD ‎diagnosis and controls (CNT). Both ASD and ASD+ADHD groups committed more ‎errors. Post-error RT in ASD and ASD+ADHD groups manifested as a post-error ‎response speeding rather than the corrective RT slowing typical of the controls. The ‎ASD and ASD+ADHD group also demonstrated an attenuated error-related negativity ‎‎(ERN) as compared to ADHD and controls. The fronto-central N100 was enhanced and ‎less differentiated in response to target and non-target figures in ASD and ASD+ADHD ‎groups.  This comparative ERP study confirmed the utility of using electrocortical ‎responses to elucidate differences between ASD and ADHD and their impact in dual ‎ASD+ADHD diagnosis. This information helps define the extent of overlap among these ‎comorbidities both in terms of symptom expression as well as underlying ‎neuropathology.‎

The Influence of Depression, Anxiety and Stress on Heart Rate Variability during ‎Self Critical and Self Compassionate Writing
Derek Bartlett, Colter Clayton

Digital Poster

Contact Email: dbartlett923@gmail.com

No statistically significant differences were found in measures of HRV in a comparison ‎of individuals with clinically elevated levels of depression, anxiety, and stress to ‎healthy participants during a self-critical and self-compassionate writing exercise.‎

The Neurophysiology of Giftedness, a Literature Review
Madeline Stein, MA

Digital Poster

This poster presents a literature review of the neurophysiological underpinnings ‎associated with giftedness. Giftedness is defined as a set of traits: rapid information ‎processing, the ability to hold a wide range of knowledge, the ability to make inter-‎subject connections with ease, extreme curiosity and desire to learn, superior memory, ‎and cognitive control (Geake, 2007). One limitation of this presentation is that ‎giftedness is a broad term. Future investigators may benefit from specifying their ‎searches to mathematical, verbal, emotional, etc. gifted categorizations.‎

Prefrontal Neurofeedback Training Outcomes in Children with Autism Spectrum ‎Disorder (ASD) with Comorbid Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)‎
Estate (Tato) Sokhadze, PhD, Manuel F. Casanova, MD, & Desmond P. Kelly, MD

Digital Poster

Contact Email: sokhadze@greenvillemed.sc.edu

Neurofeedback (NFB) is recognized as one of the most established neurotherapy ‎methods in ADHD  and  is considered as the potentially effective methods for EEG self-‎regulation in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study addressed to a ‎need for identification of reliable predictors of successful outcomes in the NFB course ‎in children with dual diagnosis (ASD and ADHD). Some EEG, cardiorespiratory and ‎electrodermal indices are candidate predictors of neurofeedback training outcomes and ‎may serve as potential moderators. We proposed that 24 sessions of prefrontal ‎neurofeedback training in treatment responders will be accompanied by intended ‎changes in targeted EEG bands and ratios of individuals bands (e.g., theta/beta ratio), as ‎well as by changes in electrodermal and cardiorespiratory indices. Outcome measures ‎were based on EEG, ECG, pneumogram and skin conductance indices and parental ‎behavioral ratings.  The protocol used a training for wide band EEG amplitude ‎suppression with concurrent upregulation of the 40 Hz-centered gamma. ‎Psychophysiological measures such as SCL, respiration and HRV represent useful ‎markers of attention and emotional engagement of children with ASD and ADHD ‎during neurofeedback and can be used as predictors of successful performance during ‎sessions and behavioral outcome of the intervention.‎

The Effects of Casual Videogames on Symptoms of Depression and Alpha Coherence
Lauren Bethune Scroggs, Amelia D. Saul, and Matthew T. Fish

Digital Poster

Contact Email: saula12@students.ecu.edu

The purpose of this study was to test the influence of a regimen of prescribed videogame play on an individual’s alpha activity and  depressive symptoms. The study included 59 participants with the experimental group playing 30 minutes of casual video games 3 times a week for 30 minutes for one month. We found a significant interaction between the intervention and time on depressive symptoms. However, we found no significant interaction between the intervention and time on alpha coherence. This underscores the importance of doing enjoyable activities such as video games to help mitigate symptoms of depression.

Effects of Mindfulness and Biofeedback on Executive Function: A balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity
Colter K. Clayton, Mikel Cressman, Amanda Brandaris, Rachel Marie Butler, John Bills, Aubrey Jooyeon Jun &  Patrick Steffen

Digital Poster

Contact Email: patrick_steffen@byu.edu

Increased parasympathetic activation is related to increases in attention and executive function, while higher levels of sympathetic function are predictive of distress and poor performance. Mindfulness and heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback are associated with increased attention and executive functioning; however these interventions are intended to balance sympathetic and parasympathetic function rather than promote parasympathetic activation. Stress management research has been associated with increasing parasympathetic function, measured by high frequency heart rate variability (HF – HRV), as predictive of increased relaxation, enhanced attention, and enhanced executive function. This study examined how the sympathetic and parasympathetic balance, measured by physiological changes in HRV, ECG, and blood pressure, functioned as a predictor of attention and executive function compared to only parasympathetic function as a predictor. This study also explored whether the effects of an HRV intervention such as mindfulness or biofeedback are mediated by the sympathetic and parasympathetic balance, rather than parasympathetic function alone. Adult participants (n=92, female=69) took part in three weekly visits.

7-Week Mindfulness and Biofeedback Training Improved Self-reported Symptoms of Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, Perfectionism, Depression, Mindfulness, Dysfunctional Breathing, and Somatic Dysfunction
Isaias Rodrigues, ND; Jessica Warbrick, MSc; Delilah Simon; My Tang, ND; Emily Takeuchi-Miller, ND; Maya Roth, ND

Digital Poster

Contact Email: mroth@bastyr.edu

The purpose of our presentation is to summarize outcomes of a 7-week mindfulness and biofeedback protocol used to treat thirteen participants for adjunctive care of psychosocial stress. Participants were asked to fill out validated symptom questionnaires at the start and completion of their 7 weekly training sessions and were given instructions for 20-minutes twice daily home-practice. The training protocol consisted of seven 1-hour sessions. Our presentation concluded that our protocol was successfully utilized to help participants generate awareness, and modify and generalize their stress response, as well as improve symptoms of anxiety, stress, insomnia, perfectionism, depression, mindfulness, dysfunctional breathing, and somatic dysfunction.

Use of Casual Videogames to Reduce Depression Symptoms and HRV
Amelia D. Saul, Lauren Bethune Scroggs, and Matthew T. Fish

Digital Poster

Contact Email: saula12@students.ecu.edu

The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of casual videogames (CVG) on HRV and depressive symptoms. There were 59 participants in total with participants in the CVG  group required to play CVGs for three 30-minute sessions per week for one month. HRV data and the patient health questionnaire nine (PHQ-9) was collected. The effects of CVGs on depression are significant, indicating a reduction in depressive symptoms, as evidenced by a decrease in PHQ-9 scores from pre- to post-intervention.  Although there was a significant interaction for depression overtime, there was not a significant interaction between the intervention and time for SDNN.  However, SDNN significantly decreased from Time 1 to Time 2.  This study highlights the importance of taking time to do fun activities, such as playing CVGs, as these activities may help to reduce symptoms of depression.

Comparison Study: Pediatric FGID Pre-Post HRV Biofeedback Measures
Monica Ortiz M.A., Francesca Tencza M.A.

Digital Poster

Contact Email: mortiz6@alliant.edu

Estimates suggest that there is a high prevalence of pediatric functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), including but not limited to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Gastrointestinal (GI) Rumination Syndrome.  FGID symptoms—including recurring pain, diarrhea, nausea, and constipation—can be especially disruptive to life domains central for youth, such as social activities and academic performance, due to the serious and sometimes unpredictable discomforts associated with the disorders.  Researchers have established that children and adolescents with an FGID present with compromised heart rate variability (HRV) and vagal tone values, in comparison to their non-FGID counterparts.  Based on a compilation of individual cases, the current study compares pre and post HRV presentations in youth treated with HRV biofeedback, following an FGID diagnosis.  The study provides information regarding the efficacy of HRV biofeedback as a means to increase HRV and strengthen vagal tone in children and adolescents with an FGID.

Mindfulness and HRV Biofeedback: Potential as a treatment for social media/smartphone addiction
Cayley Chirumbolo, Sarah Ellis, Kaylyn Gatto, Katarina Meister, Mann Semby, ND, Delilah Simon, Jessica Warbrick, Emily Takeuchi-Miller, ND,  Maya Roth, ND

Digital Poster

Contact Email: mroth@bastyr.edu

With about 3 billion people worldwide using smartphones, social scientists are concerned about anxiety, depression, disruptions at work & family and decrease in inter-personal skills. A form of “internet addiction” called Internet Gaming Disorder is now included in ICD-11 and DSM-5. Social media addiction or smartphone use disorder (SUD) is associated with loneliness, decreased emotional and thought regulation, social withdrawal, escapism from real life into an online world and increased correlation between time spent online and BMI. The purpose of this poster abstract is to review published literature to answer the question whether mindfulness and breath/HRV biofeedback can play a role in treating SUD? Our research question was prompted by increased general awareness of social media addiction as a pressing issue in today’s world and studies reporting that HRV reduces during activities such as internet gaming addiction.

Posture Awareness Training


John Chetwynd, BA, Lauren A. Mason, BA, Monica Almendras, Erik Peper, PhD, Richard Harvey, PhD

Digital Poster

Contact Email: lauren.mason@tufts.edu

A collapsed posture is associated with lower subjective energy, negative self-talk, and physical pain including neck and shoulder tension. In contrast, an upright position is associated with greater confidence, energy, and reductions in pain. While a change in posture is a simple and economical solution to alter one’s own physiology, awareness of posture remains a challenge. Posture feedback appears to be a useful strategy as it provides the individual with cues when they begin to slouch. We investigated a wearable device (UpRight Go) that attaches along the spine and connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth. We also investigated use of the UpRight DeskTop app that connects to the computer camera. The slouching feedback helps an individual to identify behaviors, thoughts, or self-talk when they slouch. Participants (n=30) using the UpRight Go showed greater posture awareness and decreased time spent in a slouched posture over a three week period. Similar results were observed in the pilot study using the UpRight Desktop App. Posture mindfulness helped individuals to gain posture awareness and increase energy and confidence while reducing shoulder and neck tension.


7-Week Mindfulness and Biofeedback Training improves symptoms of Anxiety and Heart Palpitations in 2 Case Reports
My Tang, ND; Stephanie Poiani, ND; Maya Roth, ND

Digital Poster

Contact Email: mroth@bastyr.edu

As subsets of mind-body therapies, biofeedback and mindfulness practices draw upon the direct causal relationship between psycho-social and physiological processes. The focused attention and open monitoring underlying the practice of mindfulness are thought to reduce emotional reactivity, while the positive reinforcement and stress management underlying biofeedback provide skills in addressing arising symptoms. Palpitations are an unpleasant awareness of the forceful, rapid, or irregular beating of the heart. In the absence of cardiac conditions, palpitations are often caused by medical conditions including endocrine and metabolic abnormalities, psychiatric disorders, medication effects, and drug or other substance use effects (Goyal 2020). The purpose of this case series is to report on two patients who were successfully treated on Bastyr University Clinic Mind-Body shift for anxiety and associated non-cardiac palpitations.

Better Student Health through Biofeedback Practices and Stress Education
Olivea Flickinger-Renzi, BA, Christian Martinez, Karina Urista, Lena Stampfli, BA, Lisa Wolski, BS, Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, Richard Harvey, PhD

Digital Poster

Contact Email

Stress challenges modern college students, which may lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits that contribute to the development and increase in psychological and physical distress. Depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled on college campuses compared to a decade ago.  This project reports 1) current college stress symptom prevalence and, 2) the beneficial effects of a stress management program.    Symptom Survey  Almost all (98%) of 99 college students in a health class (37% male and 63% female; average age 24 years) reported experiencing stress, pain and discomfort.  Stress-related conditions included arthritis, bruxism and TMJ, migraines, gastrointestinal discomfort (ulcerative colitis and acid reflux), tension headaches, and other body pains.    Intervention  Effect of a stress management program as part of a college class. 92 of 99 students participated in a six-week program as part of an upper division university class that included didactic discussion of the physiology of stress and holistic health concepts. Students were asked to practice sequentially the following practice multiple items during the day: awareness of stress, modified progressive relaxation, imagery for relaxation, slow diaphragmatic breathing, positive reframing/self-talk, gratitude visit, hand-warming and Quieting response.     Results  After the six week intervention, symptoms improved or disappeared (e.g. median 5.8 on a scale from 0=no change to 10 totally disappeared).  Symptoms that decreased most were stress/tension, anxiety, physical pain, insomnia, breathing difficulty, and headaches. The stress management intervention supported students’ life-long learning skills to optimize health.

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