March 28, 2006 Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 Technology Innovation Award has been won by Helicor for developing the breakthrough StressEraser device technology we wrote up last August. Intended for use by licensed psychological and psychiatric health care professionals, this handheld relaxation-training device is able to provide effective relief from chronic stress at the physiological, mental, and emotional level. Each year Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company (or individual) that has carried out new research; which has resulted in innovation(s) that have or are expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture. This award recognizes the quality and depth of a company’s research and development program as well as the vision and risk-taking that enabled it to undertake such an endeavor.
“The physiological objective of the StressEraser is to attain a sustained physiological state of parasympathetic dominance,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Preethi Vaidyanathan. “The mental objective works in conjunction with the physiological objective to sustain inward attention or present moment awareness, devoid of mental distraction.” The aim of emotional stress removal is to encourage a steady state of minimal limbic system activity, which is characterized by the absence of acute limbic enervation of the autonomic nervous system. StressEraser works by measuring the influence of the vagus nerve (the primary nerve of the parasympathetic nerves) on heart rate. The vagus nerve extends from the brainstem to many organs, including the heart. The vagus nerve has two primary inputs into it: respiration (through respiratory sinus arrhythmia) and the limbic area of the brain (the emotional processing center of the brain). The StressEraser uses a proprietary implementation of the Consecutive Heart Period (CHP) to measure vagal activity. Several peer reviewed clinical studies indicate that CHP measurement (computed from the beat-to-beat heart rate) has a linear correlation with the level of vagal activity. Therefore, the StressEraser uses 'wave by wave' CHP measurement to observe the activity of the vagus nerve in real-time. Each time a person has an emotionally charged thought, there is a temporary inhibition of parasympathetic outflow. In other words, every time a person has painful or emotional thought, there will be a temporary inhibition of the vagus nerve. This causes the real-time CHP measure to drop to near zero. By monitoring real-time CHP, the StressEraser can detect when that happens and respond appropriately. "Helicor is currently completing contractual arrangements with the American Psychological Association Practice Organization to conduct the first clinical study that will compare the relaxation training efficacy of the StressEraser to standardized relaxation training methods," notes Vaidyanathan. "This study is aimed at determining whether the StressEraser can be successfully integrated into standard group psychological treatment for individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and it will examine whether use of the StressEraser differentially affects symptoms in comparison with standard relaxation methods." The company is also working on expanding the device capabilities to successfully treat a specific list of stress-related conditions. Furthermore, Helicor has filed multiple patents dealing with the internal technology such as determining sustained parasympathetic outflow from heart rate variability data, the external form factor, screen display, and the organized presentation of data. Frost & Sullivan’s Award for Technology Innovation of the Year recognizes Helicor, Inc. for developing a stress relieving device technology that simultaneously aids in the attainment of physiological, mental, and emotional relaxation. The StressEraser is available for US$299, with a 60-day risk-free trial, from the StressEraser web site