Tuesday December 10, 2019

Detect Mental And Physical Stress Using Your Smartphones

Your smartphones can help you detect mental and physical stress

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Smartphones detect stress
Mental stress and physiological processes such as the heart beat can be measured by your smartphones. Pixabay

It is possible to use our smartphones without any other wearables to accurately extract vital parameters, such as heart beat rate and stress level, claims a new study.

The accelerometers inside a smartphone can be used to acquire a signal associated with mechanical cardiac activity, generated by the heart’s vibrations at every beat, which can be felt by simply placing the telephone on particular parts of the body, said the study published in the journal Sensors.

In the study, the research team led by Professor Enrico Caiani from Politecnico di Milano in Italy focused on positioning of the smartphone on the abdomen, at the belly button, in a prone position, before getting out of bed in the morning.

Smartphones
The accelerometers inside smartphones can be used to acquire a signal associated with mechanical cardiac activity. Pixabay

By suitably processing this signal, measurements can be acquired of the heart beat rate and status of activation of the sympathetic-vagal balance, associated with the stress level, said the study.

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It is possible to check the capacity of the indicators measured by the smartphone to capture the increase in stress, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to determine the best correspondence of the results with the same observations made using an electrocardiogram taken at the same time.

This result opens new horizons and possibilities for using the smartphone as an instrument readily available for simple self-monitoring of one’s health, said the study. (IANS)

Next Story

Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

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Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)