A new device is being used in clinical trials to allow therapists to monitor symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans.
The device, developed by South Carolina telehealth tech company Zeriscope, looks like a common wristwatch. Its purpose is uncommon.
Bio Ware monitors physical reactions to PTSD such as breathing and heart rate, while giving therapists the ability to communicate with the patient through a bluetooth earpiece and see what they are seeing with a small camera. This allows a therapist to share in the experience of the patient virtually while guiding them through dealing with outside stressors.
The device is being used as part of a technique called in vivo exposures. This technique takes a patient with PTSD and puts them in safe yet triggering scenarios to build their ability to navigate their triggers in a healthy way.
PTSD is common in veterans and can manifest itself in many ways from a variety of triggers. Loud noises, crowded areas or familiar smells that remind someone of a traumatic event can trigger a PTSD response.
“Bio Ware provides a clinician dashboard with real-time physiological and subjective data for clinicians to use for virtually guided IVEs,” MUSC Health researchers wrote.
Participants in the study came from a randomized group of service members from Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C. Between 11 and 30% of veterans experience PTSD, the news release from MUSC Health said.
“What I find so exciting about this new Bio Ware device is that when used alongside evidence-based, exposure treatment methods for PTSD, we’ve seen significantly better results for our patients,” said Sudie Back, a researcher and co-author of the study.
“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that we’ve been able to virtually go with patients during their in vivo exposures and have instant access to their physiological data in the moment to really help them get the most out of those exercises, which I believe will translate into them seeing significant reductions in their PTSD symptoms.”