ASU to partner with Boston University for research

The SCENAR device may reduce anxiety

By Adam Sauceda
On April 19, 2013

The Center for Security Studies is joining Boston University's Emergency Healthcare Management program in a joint research project to research new technology that may reduce anxiety for workers in high-stress jobs.

According to CSS, the project kicked off on April 1 and will test the Russian-made Self Controlled Energo Neuro Adaptive Regulator, or SCENAR, a hand-held electrotherapeutic device for treatment of chronic and acute pain.

The purpose of the study is to determine if the SCENAR can be effective in reducing anxiety and fatigue and improving personal health in emergency responders, including firefighters, paramedics, police officers and law enforcement aviators.

Dr. Manuel Zamora, Assistant Professor of Border Security, said the SCENAR has been approved much more in Europe than it has here in the U.S.

"They actually use it for treating physiological symptoms and cardiovascular problems [along with other ailments]," Zamora said.

Graduate student Ryan Smith, a principal investigator and researcher on the project, said it can be used to treat anxiety, depression and sleeplessness.

"It doesn't have any negative side effects like medicine does," Smith said.

The SCENAR device was originally developed for use by cosmonauts in the Russian space program and is approved in the U.S. by the FDA for certain uses such as pain management.
According to Zamora, the research will contribute to new policies for the FDA.

The project was first proposed by Dr. Toni Bark of Boston University's School of Medicine.
While treating people in Haiti during an earthquake in 2010, she noticed the SCENAR's positive effects on treating total body pain and improving mood.

The project involves measuring anxiety and fatigue in about 20 test subjects before and after five SCENAR treatment sessions spread over a 30-45 day period.

Zamora said that the study was a big deal for ASU.

"It's an inter-university and multi-disciplinary collaboration," Zamora said. "This is an opportunity to work with a Tier 1 university in a study we normally wouldn't have funding for. We can tell a lot more from an experimental study than from an exploratory study."
Smith also said that he could see the value in the device if approved for broader uses by the FDA, and that the study could benefit ASU in the future.

"Having a joint research study with [the Boston University School of Medicine] opens up the door for future interaction and working together on future studies," Smith said. "Being able to partner with them is a very useful connection to make."

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