New Study of Student Athletes with Persisting Concussion Symptoms Shows Improvement Following High-resolution, Relational, Resonance-based, Electroencephalic Mirroring (HIRREM)

October 5, 2016

A small pilot study of male and female high school- and college-age athletes found improvement in persisting post-concussion symptoms after undergoing High-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM®).

HIRREM is a technology developed by and licensed to Brain State Technologies, Scottsdale, Ariz. It uses software algorithms to translate the brain’s electrical frequencies into audible tones of variable pitch and timing. These “brain sounds” are mirrored to the user in real time via ear buds, permitting the brain to continuously update itself with respect to its own activity patterns, resulting in auto-calibration or self-optimization, typically with shifts towards improved balance, and reduced hyperarousal.   

“Until now there has been little to provide relief for the 10 to 15 percent of athletes with concussion symptoms that last three weeks or more,” said Charles H. Tegeler, M.D., professor of neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “These symptoms can include headache, dizziness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability, exercise intolerance, and lack of focus and concentration to the point where normal function is affected.”

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s research, published recently in the journal Sports Medicine Open, followed 15 male and female students who had a concussion while participating in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cycling, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, snowboarding and soccer, and afterward developed symptoms that did not resolve after three to four weeks – a normal recovery period.  Symptoms had persisted on average for 4.6 months after their most recent concussion.

Study participants received, on average, 18 HIRREM sessions and their symptoms were measured before starting, and after completing the sessions. Blood pressure and heart rate recordings were also obtained to evaluate autonomic regulation of heart and vascular function, and reaction testing was performed.   

The study results showed statistically significant reduction of all symptoms, with improvement in autonomic cardiovascular control and reaction testing. All participants were able to return to exercise, academic work, and recreational activities. Importantly, the majority of study participants were able to return to play in their respective sports.

“While this study is limited by its size and had no control group,” said Tegeler, “We believe it is significant because the participants not only had reduced symptoms, and other objective improvements, but most were able to get back to play. While there has been a lot of focus on the diagnosis of concussion, understanding the mechanisms of the injury, and trying to prevent them, there has been very little done in the way of therapeutics or treatment of persisting concussion symptoms. Over the past five years, we have enrolled over 400 participants in five clinical studies evaluating the use of HIRREM that largely shows improvement in a variety of symptom and conditions, with no important side effects, and without medications.”

Co-authors on the study are Christopher M. Miles, M.D., Hossam A. Shaltout, Ph.D., Sean L. Simpson, Ph. D., Jared F. Cook, M.A. and Catherine L. Tegeler, B.S., from Wake Forest Baptist and Sung W. Lee, M.D. and Lee Gerdes from Brain State Technologies.

This study was supported by a research grant from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc.

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