Army Contracts IAI to Develop Circadian Rhythm Monitoring and Regulation System for Patients with PTSD

Circadian rhythm misalignment can cause increased sleepiness and decreased attention span during the day, lower productivity, gastrointestinal disorders, and other long-term health problems. Some of these problems are seen in service members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Detecting daytime napping and developing a strategy to interfere with the process can help reverse this debilitating aspect of PTSD. IAI and collaborators will develop PTSD SleepAid, an end-to-end sleep treatment system to monitor and regulate circadian rhythm, and engage patients in mind and body training to overcome traditional and PTSD-specific sleep barriers. IAI will leverage its technology to monitor and regulate circadian rhythm in general populations and complement it with PTSD-specific sensor modalities like Galvanic skin response, user interfaces based on user engagement and gamification, and a health provider web portal to interact with patients and address sleep hygiene problems. As part of IAI’s mSMART suite of medical adherence and education applications, PTSD SleepAid will provide light treatment recommendations, detect patients deviating from treatment instructions like avoiding daytime napping, and provide mind-body training techniques. Sensor technologies will be integrated with engaging, gamified methods to help patients adhere to treatments. This technology can continuously collect physiological signals from combat and non-combat PTSD patients including veterans, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and integrate them to monitor and estimate circadian rhythm cycles, determine and provide a deterrent to daytime napping, encourage adherence to prescribed guidelines and enhance communications with health care providers. PTSD SleepAid will be useful in DoD and VA programs, such as Army fitness programs, the Defense Health Management System Modernization program and the Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans. This innovation can also help shift workers including airline workers and health care providers.