PTSD, Depression, Anxiety

Profiling Stress and Empathy with Neurophysiologic Sensing

The Problem:

  • Lifetime occurrence in veterans who develop
  • PTS ranges:10% to 30% PTS symptoms confounded by comorbidity
  • Cumulative effects of stressors are countered by different and mutually related aspects of stress resilience

The Solution:

  • Identify those with low resilience prior to deployment
  • Build resilience through guided improvement of coping strategies based on virtual reality that adapts to the neurophysiological state
Physiological markers of PTSD
  • Flatter 1/f slope of the power spectrum, predictive of depression and consistent with disruptions in global excitatory-inhibitory balance (E>I)
  • Reduced oscillatory alpha and beta power, predictive of anxiety and consistent with hypervigilance
  • Reduced heart rate variability (HRV) at rest, indicating maladaptive autonomic nervous system and persistent stress
  • Delayed and heightened early stimulus processing, decreased cognitive processing
Evaluation of a VR-EEG Stress Innoculation Platform
  • Integrated virtual reality game developed by USC-ICT with physiological data acquisition (EEG, ECG, skin conductance)
  • Developed an EEG-based “EM” classifier to identified stress exposure, demonstrated 75% accuracy
  • A statistically significant drop in EM score occurred in the 20s period following the start of a stressful event in 4 out of 6 scenarios (p=0.04). There were no significant changes in heart rate or skin conductance
  • The dissonance between EEG and autonomous nervous system could be used in evaluation of similar stress elicitation/PTSD abatement tools
Resting state biomarkers of PTSD
Event related biomarkers of PTSD

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