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Biofeedback Proposal Abstract (Review)

project proposal

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#1 lifeplus1

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

I'm creating this project proposal for an introductory bioengineering course. First every student is to brainstorm an idea for a BIOE related device, then we will be placed in small groups to analyze 1 team members idea in depth and develop a design. So this is my brainstormed idea. I would appreciate any advice and constructive criticism.

Nervous System Hijack Suite

Recent developments in biofeedback technology enable people to gain awareness of physiological functions and consciously alter them. Two of these include Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Hemoencephalography (HEG). These systems are generally available in medical settings under the supervision of a specialist, however the technologies are easy enough to use that they can be used in a home setting at a much lower cost.
High HRV is associated with a state of high coherence – in other words a state of relaxation, readiness, and revitalization, which is achieved through synchronization of the heart, brain, and autonomic nervous systems. High coherence is a state associated with positive emotional attitudes, which send signals to the brain that reduces reactions to stress and improves cognitive function, hormonal balance, immune response, coordination and reaction times, and overall sense of well being. Attaching a sensor anywhere on the body with an available pulse is sufficient to monitor HRV, however the earlobe is the most common placement.
HEG monitors the blood flow to the pre frontal cortex using near infrared radiation (NIR). The NIR headband can be made comfortable and is non-invasive. “This real time feedback signal quickly teaches the user to consciously increase blood flow to the part of the brain that handles important functions such as focused attention, organization/planning, decision making, working memory, emotional regulation, control of mood, behavior, inhibition and motivation.”1 “Studies show a direct relationship between an increase in frontal lobe performance and trained increases in oxygenated frontal blood supply, to then increase speed and accuracy of decision making. More blood flow also means faster removal of waste metabolites from brain tissues. With continued use, more capillaries and more synaptic connections between neurons are built in the trained area.”2
While both HRV and HEG produce outstanding results on their own, I propose that combining the technologies into one suite available for commercial use will be a major step in the evolution of consciousness. HEG strengthens a person's will, and HRV uses the person's will to control breathing. HEG brings activity in the amygdala into balance, while HRV uses breathing to balance sympathetic responses that are driven by the amygdala and limbic system. HRV teaches controlled breathing as a resource for coping with stress. When combined, HRV and HEG training can synergize to restore communications between the mind and body. The suite would include a branched USB signal processor capable of analyzing the HRV and HEG data against each other, to be displayed on an included digital software package. The data can be stored and reviewed by the user or by a healthcare practitioner for further analysis and insight. The software will be open source to allow for additional future biofeedback technologies to be integrated into the suite with little complications.

(1) Tinius,T. (2004). New Developments in Blood Flow Hemoencephalography. Hawthorne Press.
(2) Toomim, H., Mize, W., Kwong, P.C., Toomim, M., Marsh, R., Kozlowski, G.P., Kimball, M. & Rémond, A. (2004). Intentional increase of cerebral blood oxygenation using hemoencephalography (HEG): an efficient brain exercise therapy. Journal of Neurotherapy, 8(3): 5–21.

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