Mind-Body Medicine

03/14/2012

Highlights of the AAPB (Biofeedback and Neurofeedback) Meeting in Baltimore

The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) is the original biofeedback society, which was founded by a group of humanistic psychologists and lab scientists at the Surfrider Inn in Santa Monica, California in 1969. The group began as the Biofeedback Research Society of America and later was known as the Biofeedback Society of America.  AAPB has two professional journals, and provides webinars and workshops on biofeedback, neurofeedback, and stress management interventions.

AAPB’s annual meeting took place this week in Baltimore.  Saybrook University was well represented in the meeting.  College of MBM faculty Fred Shaffer and Don Moss provided a pre-conference workshop on heart rate variability biofeedback.  Don also provided a workshop on the integration of self-care and  lifestyle changes into biofeedback treatment, and a seminar on ethical standards in clinical practice.  College of MBM faculty member Eric Willmarth also attended, as did humanistic psychologist and Saybrook “Distinguished Consulting Faculty” member Eleanore Criswell.

One MBM master’s student, Tamami Shirai, presented a poster on “Psychophysiological  Changes in Disasters.”  Saybrook (College of PHS) student JoAnn Stoddard presented a poster on “Expanding Biofeedback’s Presence in the Wellness Industry.”  Recent Saybrook graduate Christine Thomas also attended, and completed her BCIA biofeedback certification exam at this meeting.  Tamami Shirai also received an AAPB Foundation grant to assist her in her master’s thesis research, which will include travel to Japan, where she will study the Japanese earthquake victims’ physiological responses to the disaster.

The AAPB annual meeting is an exciting and demanding roller coaster ride. Pre-conference workshops occur on Wednesday and Thursday, and the scientific meeting begins Thursday afternoon and continues through Friday and Saturday.  Each morning, break-out sessions begin at 8:00 AM and each evening Section and Division meetings continue until 9:30 AM. Students and first-time attendees are welcomed with special badges, and a brownbag lunch. The meeting ended with a clam-bake on Saturday evening, a fund-raiser for the AAPB Foundation, to benefit students and research.   

This year one series of presentations addressed the use of biofeedback and stress management in cardiac rehabilitation. Cleveland Clinic researcher Christine Moravec delivered a keynote: “Biofeedback Training Can Remodel the Human Heart.”  A symposium provided perspectives on “Heart Disease, From Psychosocial to Pathophysiological to Rehabilitation.” Other highlights included John Charles, a NASA speaker, on “Biomedical Aspects of Early Interplanetary Exploration,” Yuval Neria, from Israel, on Understanding Fear and its Consequences:  What do We Know about PTSD?” and Evian Gordon, from Australia on “The Application of HRV to Brain-Body-Health.”

Student memberships in AAPB are $55.00, and entitle students to receive both professional journals, and to discounted registration fees for the AAPB conference, workshops, and webinars. Travel scholarships are available for students presenting posters at the AAPB meeting.

Posted at 08:30 AM in

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Comments

The implications of Christine Moravec's presentation is to raise hopes for "cardio-plasticity" -- that is the renewal of human hearts already affected by illness. Dean Ornish's work showed some of this possibility, with his combination of changes in lifestyle, including diet and stress management. Christine is showing that patients given an LVAD device to aid pumping while they await a transplant actually show some rejuvenation of the organ, from this "rest." Her data also shows that a biofeedback intervention can produce similar effects. This is a revolution for  cardiac care.

Posted by dmoss | 03/18/2012 @ 04:23 PM