SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Aug. 18, 2016 — Use of a wearable neurotechnology device by military personnel could improve sleep and help regulate circadian rhythms, thereby lowering the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that has been linked to sleep disturbance.
A wearable neurotechnology device, developed by Brain State Technologies, could improve sleep and lower the risk of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Courtesy of Brain State Technologies.
Brain State Technologies LLC developed the wearable technology, which is designed to optimize sleep quality and balance circadian rhythms. The work was partially supported by an award from the U.S. Army Research Office.
The device, called BRAINtellect 2 (B-2), is shaped like a visor that sits on top of the head. Read-only sensors, built into the device, read the wearer’s brainwaves and relay this information to algorithms.
The algorithms produce an acoustic mirror of the brain’s activity in real time. The patterns of this sound-based mirror are delivered to the wearer via earbuds in the form of rhythmic tones.
Researchers at Brain State Technologies collaborated with researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine to show that sleep improvement may be a way to reduce the number of new-onset cases of PTSD in service members deployed to combat zones. The researchers reviewed data from a study of military service members who were deployed to Iraq after 9/11. In that study, published in 2013 in Sleep, combat-related trauma and predeployment insomnia symptoms were associated with higher odds of developing PTSD, depression and anxiety post-deployment.
"We are very excited about presenting this analysis to military health researchers, because prevention efforts tend to get too little attention," said Lee Gerdes, Brain State Technologies' founder and CEO. "We think that focus on sleep quality could reduce PTSD not only in the military, but also in police, medical first-responders and others who have high exposure to trauma."
The research was published in Sleep (doi: 10.5665/sleep.2798). It was also presented at the 2016 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS).