Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 17

Search results for: biofeedback

17 The Use of Biofeedback to Increase Resilience and Mental Health of Supersonic Pilots

Authors: G. Kloudova, S. Kozlova, M. Stehlik


Pilots are operating in a high-risk environment rich in potential stressors, which negatively affect aviation safety and the mental health of pilots. In the research conducted, the pilots were offered mental training biofeedback therapy. Biofeedback is an objective tool to measure physiological responses to stress. After only six sessions, all of the pilots tested showed significant differences between their initial condition and their condition after therapy. The biggest improvement was found in decreased heart rate (in 83.3% of tested pilots) and respiration rate (66.7%), which are the best indicators of anxiety states and panic attacks. To incorporate all of the variables, we correlated the measured physiological state of the pilots with their personality traits. Surprisingly, we found a high correlation with peripheral temperature and confidence (0.98) and with heart rate and aggressiveness (0.97). A retest made after a one-year interval showed that in majority of the subjects tested their acquired self-regulation ability had been internalized.

Keywords: aviation, biofeedback, mental workload, performance psychology

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16 The Significant Effect of Wudu’ and Zikr in the Controlling of Emotional Pressure Using Biofeedback Emwave Technique

Authors: Mohd Anuar Awang Idris, Muhammad Nubli Abdul Wahab, Nora Yusma Mohamed Yusoff


Wudu’ (Ablution) and Zikr are amongst some of the spiritual tools which may help an individual control his mind, emotion and attitude. These tools are deemed to be able to deliver a positive impact on an individual’s psychophysiology. The main objective of this research is to determine the effects of Wudu’ (Ablution) and Zikr therapy using the biofeedback emWave application and technology. For this research, 13 students were selected as samples from the students’ representative body at the University Tenaga National, Malaysia. The DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale) questionnaire was used to help with the assessment and measurement of each student’s ability in controlling his or her emotions before and after the therapies. The biofeedback emWave technology was utilized to monitor the student’s psychophysiology level. In addition, the data obtained from the Heart rate variability (HRV) test have also been used to affirm that Wudu’ and Zikr had had significant impacts on the student’s success in controlling his or her emotional pressure.

Keywords: biofeedback EmWave, emotion, psychophysiology, wudu’, zikr

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15 Efficacy of Biofeedback-Assisted Pelvic Floor Muscle Training on Postoperative Stress Urinary Incontinence

Authors: Asmaa M. El-Bandrawy, Afaf M. Botla, Ghada E. El-Refaye, Hassan O. Ghareeb


Background: Urinary incontinence is a common problem among adults. Its incidence increases with age and it is more frequent in women. Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is the first-line therapy in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) either alone or combined with biofeedback-assisted PFMT. The aim of the work: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of biofeedback-assisted PFMT in postoperative stress urinary incontinence. Settings and Design: A single blind controlled trial design was. Methods and Material: This study was carried out in 30 volunteer patients diagnosed as severe degree of stress urinary incontinence and they were admitted to surgical treatment. They were divided randomly into two equal groups: (Group A) consisted of 15 patients who had been treated with post-operative biofeedback-assisted PFMT and home exercise program (Group B) consisted of 15 patients who had been treated with home exercise program only. Assessment of all patients in both groups (A) and (B) was carried out before and after the treatment program by measuring intra-vaginal pressure in addition to the visual analog scale. Results: At the end of the treatment program, there was a highly statistically significant difference between group (A) and group (B) in the intra-vaginal pressure and the visual analog scale favoring the group (A). Conclusion: biofeedback-assisted PFMT is an effective method for the symptomatic relief of post-operative female stress urinary incontinence.

Keywords: stress urinary incontinence, pelvic floor muscles, pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback

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14 Comparison of the Effect of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback and Slow Breathing Training on Promoting Autonomic Nervous Function Related Performance

Authors: Yi Jen Wang, Yu Ju Chen


Background: Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback can promote autonomic nervous function, sleep quality and reduce psychological stress. In HRV biofeedback training, it is hoped that through the guidance of machine video or audio, the patient can breathe slowly according to his own heart rate changes so that the heart and lungs can achieve resonance, thereby promoting the related effects of autonomic nerve function; while, it is also pointed out that if slow breathing of 6 times per minute can also guide the case to achieve the effect of cardiopulmonary resonance. However, there is no relevant research to explore the comparison of the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resonance by using video or audio HRV biofeedback training and metronome-guided slow breathing. Purpose: To compare the promotion of autonomic nervous function performance between using HRV biofeedback and slow breathing guided by a metronome. Method: This research is a kind of experimental design with convenient sampling; the cases are randomly divided into the heart rate variability biofeedback training group and the slow breathing training group. The HRV biofeedback training group will conduct HRV biofeedback training in a four-week laboratory and use the home training device for autonomous training; while the slow breathing training group will conduct slow breathing training in the four-week laboratory using the mobile phone APP breathing metronome to guide the slow breathing training, and use the mobile phone APP for autonomous training at home. After two groups were enrolled and four weeks after the intervention, the autonomic nervous function-related performance was repeatedly measured. Using the chi-square test, student’s t-test and other statistical methods to analyze the results, and use p <0.05 as the basis for statistical significance. Results: A total of 27 subjects were included in the analysis. After four weeks of training, the HRV biofeedback training group showed significant improvement in the HRV indexes (SDNN, RMSSD, HF, TP) and sleep quality. Although the stress index also decreased, it did not reach statistical significance; the slow breathing training group was not statistically significant after four weeks of training, only sleep quality improved significantly, while the HRV indexes (SDNN, RMSSD, TP) all increased. Although HF and stress indexes decreased, they were not statistically significant. Comparing the difference between the two groups after training, it was found that the HF index improved significantly and reached statistical significance in the HRV biofeedback training group. Although the sleep quality of the two groups improved, it did not reach that level in a statistically significant difference. Conclusion: HRV biofeedback training is more effective in promoting autonomic nervous function than slow breathing training, but the effects of reducing stress and promoting sleep quality need to be explored after increasing the number of samples. The results of this study can provide a reference for clinical or community health promotion. In the future, it can also be further designed to integrate heart rate variability biological feedback training into the development of AI artificial intelligence wearable devices, which can make it more convenient for people to train independently and get effective feedback in time.

Keywords: autonomic nervous function, HRV biofeedback, heart rate variability, slow breathing

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13 Positive Effect of Manipulated Virtual Kinematic Intervention in Individuals with Traumatic Stiff Shoulder: Pilot Study

Authors: Isabella Schwartz, Ori Safran, Naama Karniel, Michal Abel, Adina Berko, Martin Seyres, Tamir Tsoar, Sigal Portnoy


Virtual Reality allows to manipulate the patient’s perception, thereby providing a motivational addition to real-time biofeedback exercises. We aimed to test the effect of manipulated virtual kinematic intervention on measures of active and passive Range of Motion (ROM), pain, and disability level in individuals with traumatic stiff shoulder. In a double-blinded study, patients with stiff shoulder following proximal humerus fracture and non-operative treatment were randomly divided into a non-manipulated feedback group (NM-group; N=6) and a manipulated feedback group (M-group; N=7). The shoulder ROM, pain, and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) scores were tested at baseline and after the 6 sessions, during which the subjects performed shoulder flexion and abduction in front of a graphic visualization of the shoulder angle. The biofeedback provided to the NM-group was the actual shoulder angle and the feedback provided to the M-group was manipulated so that 10° were constantly subtracted from the actual angle detected by the motion capture system. The M-group showed greater improvement in the active flexion ROM, with median and interquartile range of 197.1 (140.5-425.0) compared to 142.5 (139.1-151.3) for the NM-group (p=.046). Also, the M-group showed greater improvement in the DASH scores, with median and interquartile range of 67.7 (52.8-86.2) compared to 89.7 (83.8-98.3) for the NM-group (p=.022). Manipulated intervention is beneficial in individuals with traumatic stiff shoulder and should be further tested for other populations with orthopedic injuries.

Keywords: virtual reality, biofeedback, shoulder pain, range of motion

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12 Effects of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback to Improve Autonomic Nerve Function, Inflammatory Response and Symptom Distress in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Randomized Control Trial

Authors: Chia-Pei Chen, Yu-Ju Chen, Yu-Juei Hsu


The prevalence and incidence of end-stage renal disease in Taiwan ranks the highest in the world. According to the statistical survey of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2019, kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in Taiwan. It leads to autonomic dysfunction, inflammatory response and symptom distress, and further increases the damage to the structure and function of the kidneys, leading to increased demand for renal replacement therapy and risks of cardiovascular disease, which also has medical costs for the society. If we can intervene in a feasible manual to effectively regulate the autonomic nerve function of CKD patients, reduce the inflammatory response and symptom distress. To prolong the progression of the disease, it will be the main goal of caring for CKD patients. This study aims to test the effect of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVBF) on improving autonomic nerve function (Heart Rate Variability, HRV), inflammatory response (Interleukin-6 [IL-6], C reaction protein [CRP] ), symptom distress (Piper fatigue scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI], and Beck Depression Inventory-II [BDI-II] ) in patients with chronic kidney disease. This study was experimental research, with a convenience sampling. Participants were recruited from the nephrology clinic at a medical center in northern Taiwan. With signed informed consent, participants were randomly assigned to the HRVBF or control group by using the Excel BINOMDIST function. The HRVBF group received four weekly hospital-based HRVBF training, and 8 weeks of home-based self-practice was done with StressEraser. The control group received usual care. We followed all participants for 3 months, in which we repeatedly measured their autonomic nerve function (HRV), inflammatory response (IL-6, CRP), and symptom distress (Piper fatigue scale, PSQI, and BDI-II) on their first day of study participation (baselines), 1 month, and 3 months after the intervention to test the effects of HRVBF. The results were analyzed by SPSS version 23.0 statistical software. The data of demographics, HRV, IL-6, CRP, Piper fatigue scale, PSQI, and BDI-II were analyzed by descriptive statistics. To test for differences between and within groups in all outcome variables, it was used by paired sample t-test, independent sample t-test, Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test and Mann-Whitney U test. Results: Thirty-four patients with chronic kidney disease were enrolled, but three of them were lost to follow-up. The remaining 31 patients completed the study, including 15 in the HRVBF group and 16 in the control group. The characteristics of the two groups were not significantly different. The four-week hospital-based HRVBF training combined with eight-week home-based self-practice can effectively enhance the parasympathetic nerve performance for patients with chronic kidney disease, which may against the disease-related parasympathetic nerve inhibition. In the inflammatory response, IL-6 and CRP in the HRVBF group could not achieve significant improvement when compared with the control group. Self-reported fatigue and depression significantly decreased in the HRVBF group, but they still failed to achieve a significant difference between the two groups. HRVBF has no significant effect on improving the sleep quality for CKD patients.

Keywords: heart rate variability biofeedback, autonomic nerve function, inflammatory response, symptom distress, chronic kidney disease

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11 Assessment of Influence of Short-Lasting Whole-Body Vibration on the Proprioception of Lower Limbs

Authors: Sebastian Wójtowicz, Anna Mosiołek, Anna Słupik, Zbigniew Wroński, Dariusz Białoszewski


Introduction: In whole-body vibration (WBV) high-frequency mechanical stimuli is generated by a vibration plate and is transferred through bone, muscle and connective tissues to the whole body. The research has shown that the implementation of a vibration plate training over a long period of time leads to improvement of neuromuscular facilitation, especially in afferent neural pathways, which are responsible for the conduction of vibration and proprioceptive stimuli, muscle function, balance, and proprioception. The vibration stimulus is suggested to briefly inhibit the conduction of afferent signals from proprioceptors and may hinder the maintenance of body balance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the result of a single set of exercises connected with whole-body vibration on the proprioception. Material and Methods: The study enrolled 60 people aged 19-24 years. These individuals were divided into a test group (group A) and a control group (group B). Both groups consisted of 30 persons and performed the same set of exercises on a vibration plate. The following vibration parameters: frequency of 20Hz and amplitude of 3mm, were used in the group A. The vibration plate was turned off while the control group did their exercises. All participants performed six dynamic 30-seconds-long exercises with a 60-second resting period between them. Large muscle groups of the trunk, pelvis, and lower limbs were involved while taking the exercises. The results were measured before and immediately after the exercises. The proprioception of lower limbs was measured in a closed kinematic chain using a Humac 360®. Participants were instructed to perform three squats with biofeedback in a defined range of motion. Then they did three squats without biofeedback which were measured. The final result was the average of three measurements. Statistical analysis was performed using Statistica 10.0 PL software. Results: There were no significant differences between the groups, both before and after the exercise (p > 0.05). The proprioception did not change in both the group A and the group B. Conclusions: 1. Deterioration in proprioception was not observed immediately after the vibration stimulus. This suggests that vibration-induced blockage of proprioceptive stimuli conduction can only have a short-lasting effect occurring only in the presence of the vibration stimulus. 2. Short-term use of vibration seems to be safe for patients with proprioceptive impairment due to the fact that the treatment does not decrease proprioception. 3. There is a need for supplementing the results with evaluation of proprioception while vibration stimuli are being applied. Moreover, the effects of vibration parameters used in the exercises should be evaluated.

Keywords: joint position sense, proprioception, squat, whole body vibration

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10 A Pilot Study on the Short Term Effects of Paslop Dance Exercise on Core Strength, Balance and Flexibility

Authors: Wilawan Kanhachon, Yodchai Boonprakob, Uraiwon Chatchawan, Junichiro Yamauchi


Introduction: Paslop is a traditional dance from Laos, which is popular in Laos and northeastern of Thailand. This unique type of Paslop dancing is to control body movement with the song. While dancing to the beat, dancers should contract their abdomen and back muscle all the time. Paslop may be a good alternative to improve strengthening, balance and flexibility. Objective: To investigate the effects of Paslop dance exercise on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Methods: Seven healthy participants (age, 20.57±1.13 yrs; height, 162.29±6.16 cm; body mass, 58.14±7.03 kg; mean± S.D.) were volunteered to perform the 45-minute Paslop dance exercise in three times a week for 8 weeks. Before, during and after the exercise period, core strength, balance and flexibility were measured with the pressure biofeedback unit (PBU), one-leg stance test (OLST), and sit and reach test (SAR), respectively. Result: PBU score for core strength increased from 2.12 mmHg in baseline to 6.34 mmHg at the 4th week and 10.10 mmHg at the 8th week after the Paslop dance training, while OLST and SAR did not change. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that 8-week Paslop dancing exercise can improve the core strength.

Keywords: balance, core strength, flexibility, Paslop

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9 Management of Facial Nerve Palsy Following Physiotherapy

Authors: Bassam Band, Simon Freeman, Rohan Munir, Hisham Band


Objective: To determine efficacy of facial physiotherapy provided for patients with facial nerve palsy. Design: Retrospective study Subjects: 54 patients diagnosed with Facial nerve palsy were included in the study after they met the selection criteria including unilateral facial paralysis and start of therapy twelve months after the onset of facial nerve palsy. Interventions: Patients received the treatment offered at a facial physiotherapy clinic consisting of: Trophic electrical stimulation, surface electromyography with biofeedback, neuromuscular re-education and myofascial release. Main measures: The Sunnybrook facial grading scale was used to evaluate the severity of facial paralysis. Results: This study demonstrated the positive impact of physiotherapy for patient with facial nerve palsy with improvement of 24.2% on the Sunnybrook facial grading score from a mean baseline of 34.2% to 58.2%. The greatest improvement looking at different causes was seen in patient who had reconstructive surgery post Acoustic Neuroma at 31.3%. Conclusion: The therapy shows significant improvement for patients with facial nerve palsy even when started 12 months post onset of paralysis across different causes. This highlights the benefit of this non-invasive technique in managing facial nerve paralysis and possibly preventing the need for surgery.

Keywords: facial nerve palsy, treatment, physiotherapy, bells palsy, acoustic neuroma, ramsey-hunt syndrome

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8 Nursing Experience of Providing Nursing Care to a Lung Transplantation Patient by Applying the Self-Efficacy Theory

Authors: Hsin-Yi Huang


This study mainly discussed the disease-induced and surgery-induced physical, psychological, and spiritual issues faced by a patient who suffered from emphysema and respiratory failure and had underwent a right-lung transplantation surgery. Nursing care was provided from May 21 to May 29. Based on the observations, interviews, physical examinations, and evaluations that were carried out using Roy’s adaptation model, the following nursing issues were identified: risk of infection, lack of knowledge, and anxiety. Active care was provided and a good nursing relationship with the patient and the patient’s family was established. The four strategies of Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (self-transcendence, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and biofeedback) were employed. Instructions for the appropriate rehabilitation exercises were given, immunosuppressant concentration was monitored, and special measures were taken to prevent infection. The patient was encouraged to express feelings and was provided with sufficient information to alleviate anxiety. With assistance from nursing personnel and the medical team, the patient was successfully discharged from the hospital and thereafter embarked on the path of postoperative recovery. The patient learned about the importance of home self-care and regular follow-up outpatient visits, and patient management was implemented for discharge preparation services. This nursing case study may serve as a reference to nurses managing similar cases in future.

Keywords: anxiety, lung transplantation, Roy's adaptation model, self-efficacy theory

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7 Flow: A Fourth Musical Element

Authors: James R. Wilson


Music is typically defined as having the attributes of melody, harmony, and rhythm. In this paper, a fourth element is proposed -"flow". "Flow" is a new dimension in music that has always been present but only recently identified and measured. The Adagio "Flow Machine" enables us to envision this component and even suggests a new approach to music theory and analysis. The Adagio was created specifically to measure the underlying “flow” in music. The Adagio is an entirely new way to experience and visualize the music, to assist in performing music (both as a conductor and/or performer), and to provide a whole new methodology for music analysis and theory. The Adagio utilizes musical “hit points”, such as a transition from one musical section to another (for example, in a musical composition utilizing the sonata form, a transition from the exposition to the development section) to help define the compositions flow rate. Once the flow rate is established, the Adagio can be used to determine if the composer/performer/conductor has correctly maintained the proper rate of flow throughout the performance. An example is provided using Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 21. Working with the Adagio yielded an unexpected windfall; it was determined via an empirical study conducted at Nova University’s Biofeedback Lab that watching the Adagio helped volunteers participating in a controlled experiment recover from stressors significantly faster than the control group. The Adagio can be thought of as a new arrow in the Musicologist's quiver. It provides a new, unique way of viewing the psychological impact and esthetic effectiveness of music composition. Additionally, with the current worldwide access to multi-media via the internet, flow analysis can be performed and shared with others with little time and/or expense.

Keywords: musicology, music analysis, music flow, music therapy

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6 Taleb's Complexity Theory Concept of 'Antifragility' Has a Significant Contribution to Make to Positive Psychology as Applied to Wellbeing

Authors: Claudius Peter Van Wyk


Given the increasingly manifest phenomena, as described in complexity theory, of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), Taleb's notion of 'antifragility, has a significant contribution to make to positive psychology applied to wellbeing. Antifragility is argued to be fundamentally different from the concepts of resiliency; as the ability to recover from failure, and robustness; as the ability to resist failure. Rather it describes the capacity to reorganise in the face of stress in such a way as to cope more effectively with systemic challenges. The concept, which has been applied in disciplines ranging from physics, molecular biology, planning, engineering, and computer science, can now be considered for its application in individual human and social wellbeing. There are strong correlations to Antonovsky's model of 'salutogenesis' in which an attitude and competencies are developed of transforming burdening factors into greater resourcefulness. We demonstrate, from the perspective of neuroscience, how technology measuring nervous system coherence can be coupled to acquired psychodynamic approaches to not only identify contextual stressors, utilise biofeedback instruments for facilitating greater coherence, but apply these insights to specific life stressors that compromise well-being. Employing an on-going case study with BMW South Africa, the neurological mapping is demonstrated together with 'reframing' and emotional anchoring techniques from neurolinguistic programming. The argument is contextualised in the discipline of psychoneuroimmunology which describes the stress pathways from the CNS and endocrine systems and their impact on immune function and the capacity to restore homeostasis.

Keywords: antifragility, complexity, neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, salutogenesis, volatility

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5 The Moving and Special Ability Influence Player Preference in the Dual Protagonist Game

Authors: Shih-Chieh Liao, Jen-Ying Ma


Dual protagonists game always bring a unique experience compared to the other games. This research wants to discuss whether the dual protagonists have the moving ability and special ability or not; it will affect the preference of the players. This research will focus on the single-player dual protagonists game. After the observation, we found that when players control the dual protagonists, the moving ability and special ability are a great point defining the preference of players. When players control the character, which is lack of moving ability, they often feel impatient with the inconvenient mechanism and then reduce the will to play with the character or even the game. Furthermore, the special ability is also important in the situation that there is another character to compare with. When the character is too powerful, players tend not to use the weaker one. In addition, gender is a big deal in the games. It surprisingly controls the will of play occasionally. In view of these, this research makes a single-player dual protagonists game and the dual protagonists are limited to male and female. The experiment content detected with Electrodermal Activity (EDA) includes seven different situations. (1) male and females both have the moving ability and special ability. (2) male and female both have a special ability, but female does not have the moving ability. (3) male and females both have a special ability, but the male does not have the moving ability. (4) male and female both have the moving ability, but the male does not have special ability (5) male and female both have the moving ability, but female does not have a special ability (6) male-only has the moving ability and female-only has a special ability (7) male-only has a special ability and female only has the moving ability. The experiment will evaluate the emotional changes of the subjects in those situations. The result sorted by the significance of player preference is (6)>(4)>(1)>(2)>(5)>(3)>(7). The result demonstrates that players prefer females with special abilities or males with moving abilities. The game developer could design the ability of dual protagonists based on this research. Therefore, players may have a better experience.

Keywords: biofeedback, dual protagonists, emotional responses, psychology, user experience

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4 A Study on How to Influence Players Interactive Behavior of Victory or Defeat in Party Games

Authors: Shih-Chieh Liao, Cheng-Yan Shuai


"Party game" is a game mode that enables players to maintain a good social and interactive experience. The common game modes include Teamwork, Team competitive, Independent competitive, Battle Royale. Party games are defined as a game with easy rules, easy to play, quickly spice up a party, and support four to six players. It also needs to let the player feel satisfied no matter victory or defeat. However, players may feel negative or angry when the game is imbalanced, especially when they play with teammates. Some players care about winning or losing, and they will blame it on the game mechanics. What is more serious is that the player will cause the argument, which is unnecessary. These behaviors that trigger quarrels and negative emotions often originate from the player's determination of the victory and the ratio of victory during the competition. In view of this, our research invited a group of subjects to the experiment, which is going to inspect player’s emotions by Electromyography (EMG) and Electrodermal Activity (EDA) when they are playing party games with others. When a player wins or loses, the negative and positive feeling will be recorded from the game beginning to the end. At the same time, physiologic and emotional reactions are also being recorded in each part of the game. The game will be designed as telling the interaction when players are in the quest of a party game. The experiment content includes the emotional changes affected by the physiological values of game victory and defeat between “player against friend” and “player against stranger.” Through this experiment, the balance between winners and losers lies in the basis of good game interaction and game interaction in the game and explore the emotional positive and negative effects caused by the result of the party game. The result shows that “player against friend” has a significant negative emotion and significant positive emotion at “player against stranger.” According to the result, the player's experience will be affected with winning rate or form when they play the party game. We suggest the developer balance the game with our experiment method to let players get a better experience.

Keywords: party games, biofeedback, emotional responses, user experience, game design

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3 Comparison of Trunk and Hip Muscle Activities and Anterior Pelvic Tilt Angle during Three Different Bridging Exercises in Subjects with Chronic Low Back Pain

Authors: Da-Eun Kim, Heon-Seock Cynn, Sil-Ah Choi, A-Reum Shin


Bridging exercise in supine position with the hips and knees flexed have been commonly performed as one of the therapeutic exercises and is a comfortable and pain-free position to most individuals with chronic low back pain (CLBP). Many previous studies have investigated the beneficial way of performing bridging exercises to improve activation of abdominal and gluteal muscle and reduce muscle activity of hamstrings (HAM) and erector spinae (ES) and compensatory lumbopelvic motion. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of three different bridging exercises on the HAM, ES, gluteus maximus (Gmax), gluteus medius (Gmed), and transverse abdominis/internal abdominis oblique (TrA/IO) activities and anterior pelvic tilt angle in subjects with CLBP. Seventeen subjects with CLBP participated in this study. They performed bridging under three different conditions (with 30° hip abduction, isometric hip abduction, and isometric hip adduction). Surface electromyography was used to measure muscle activity, and the ImageJ software was used to calculate anterior pelvic tilt angle. One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess the statistical significance of the measured variables. HAM activity was significantly lower in bridging with 30° hip abduction and isometric hip abduction than in bridging with isometric hip adduction. Gmax and Gmed activities were significantly greater in bridging with isometric hip abduction than in bridging with 30° hip abduction and isometric hip adduction. TrA/IO muscle activity was significantly greater and anterior pelvic tilt angle was significantly lower in bridging with isometric hip adduction than in bridging with 30° hip abduction and isometric hip abduction. Bridging with isometric hip abduction using Thera-Band can effectively reduce HAM activity, and increase Gmax and Gmed activities in subjects with CLBP. Bridging with isometric hip adduction using a pressure biofeedback unit can be a beneficial exercise to improve TrA/IO activity and minimize anterior pelvic tilt in subjects with CLBP.

Keywords: bridging exercise, electromyography, low back pain, lower limb exercise

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2 Virtual Reality in COVID-19 Stroke Rehabilitation: Preliminary Outcomes

Authors: Kasra Afsahi, Maryam Soheilifar, S. Hossein Hosseini


Background: There is growing evidence that Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) can be a consequence of Covid-19 infection. Understanding novel treatment approaches are important in optimizing patient outcomes. Case: This case explores the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in the treatment of a 23-year-old COVID-positive female presenting with left hemiparesis in August 2020. Imaging showed right globus pallidus, thalamus, and internal capsule ischemic stroke. Conventional rehabilitation was started two weeks later, with virtual reality (VR) included. This game-based virtual reality (VR) technology developed for stroke patients was based on upper extremity exercises and functions for stroke. Physical examination showed left hemiparesis with muscle strength 3/5 in the upper extremity and 4/5 in the lower extremity. The range of motion of the shoulder was 90-100 degrees. The speech exam showed a mild decrease in fluency. Mild lower lip dynamic asymmetry was seen. Babinski was positive on the left. Gait speed was decreased (75 steps per minute). Intervention: Our game-based VR system was developed based on upper extremity physiotherapy exercises for post-stroke patients to increase the active, voluntary movement of the upper extremity joints and improve the function. The conventional program was initiated with active exercises, shoulder sanding for joint ROMs, walking shoulder, shoulder wheel, and combination movements of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, alternative flexion-extension, pronation-supination movements, Pegboard and Purdo pegboard exercises. Also, fine movements included smart gloves, biofeedback, finger ladder, and writing. The difficulty of the game increased at each stage of the practice with progress in patient performances. Outcome: After 6 weeks of treatment, gait and speech were normal and upper extremity strength was improved to near normal status. No adverse effects were noted. Conclusion: This case suggests that VR is a useful tool in the treatment of a patient with covid-19 related CVA. The safety of newly developed instruments for such cases provides new approaches to improve the therapeutic outcomes and prognosis as well as increased satisfaction rate among patients.

Keywords: covid-19, stroke, virtual reality, rehabilitation

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1 Developing a Methodology to Examine Psychophysiological Responses during Stress Exposure and Relaxation: An Experimental Paradigm

Authors: M. Velana, G. Rinkenauer


Nowadays, nurses are facing unprecedented amounts of pressure due to the ongoing global health demands. Work-related stress can cause a high physical and psychological workload, which can lead, in turn, to burnout. On the physiological level, stress triggers an initial activation of the sympathetic nervous and adrenomedullary systems resulting in increases in cardiac activity. Furthermore, activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis provokes endocrine and immune changes leading to the release of cortisol and cytokines in an effort to re-establish body balance. Based on the current state of the literature, it has been identified that resilience and mindfulness exercises among nurses can effectively decrease stress and improve mood. However, it is still unknown what relaxation techniques would be suitable for and to what extent would be effective to decrease psychophysiological arousal deriving from either a physiological or a psychological stressor. Moreover, although cardiac activity and cortisol are promising candidates to examine the effectiveness of relaxation to reduce stress, it still remains to shed light on the role of cytokines in this process so as to thoroughly understand the body’s response to stress and to relaxation. Therefore, the main aim of the present study is to develop a comprehensive experimental paradigm and assess different relaxation techniques, namely progressive muscle relaxation and a mindfulness exercise originating from cognitive therapy by means of biofeedback, under highly controlled laboratory conditions. An experimental between-subject design will be employed, where 120 participants will be randomized either to a physiological or a psychological stress-related experiment. Particularly, the cold pressor test refers to a procedure in which the participants have to immerse their non-dominant hands into ice water (2-3 °C) for 3 min. The participants are requested to keep their hands in the water throughout the whole duration. However, they can immediately terminate the test in case it would be barely tolerable. A pre-test anticipation phase and a post-stress period of 3 min, respectively, are planned. The Trier Social Stress Test will be employed to induce psychological stress. During this laboratory stressor, the participants are instructed to give a 5-min speech in front of a committee of communication specialists. Before the main task, there is a 10-min anticipation period. Subsequently, participants are requested to perform an unexpected arithmetic task. After stress exposure, the participants will perform one of the relaxation exercises (treatment condition) or watch a neutral video (control condition). Electrocardiography, salivary samples, and self-report will be collected at different time points. The preliminary results deriving from the pilot study showed that the aforementioned paradigm could effectively induce stress reactions and that relaxation might decrease the impact of stress exposure. It is of utmost importance to assess how the human body responds under different stressors and relaxation exercises so that an evidence-based intervention could be transferred in a clinical setting to improve nurses’ general health. Based on suggestive future laboratory findings, the research group plans to conduct a pilot-level randomized study to decrease stress and promote well-being among nurses who work in the stress-riddled environment of a hospital located in Northern Germany.

Keywords: nurses, psychophysiology, relaxation, stress

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