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Using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Information to Increase Control of Body and Mind

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By Andrew L. Jaffee

Albuquerque, NM - April 19, 2015: microIT Infrastructure, LLC ("microIT") is pleased to provide the pre-release announcement of the company's upcoming app ("device") for the Apple iOS family of mobile devices. Our app will measure, analyze, and report users' heart rate variability (HRV) and provide them with insights into their mental competence and physical health. The app provides such insights by allowing users to view information about changes in their heart's action in real time. Use of the app requires a heart rate monitor (HRM) -- an inexpensive and readily available sensor that is comfortably worn on the forearm, wrist, or chest. The app prototype is functional on any Apple mobile device running iOS 8.x (e.g., iPhone or iPad) and is in pre-production testing. NOTE: The statements and claims contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This app is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The app and this article are protected under U.S. copyright law and are Copyright © 2015 by Andrew L. Jaffee, Owner, microIT Infrastructure, LLC. You may not make and/or distribute derivative works, transformations, or adaptations based on this content. This content may not be downloaded, distributed, transmitted, copied, or exploited in any manner.

Background

In all living systems and some machines, information is sent from one agent or component in the system to other components. In the human being, the nervous system is the main pathway by which sub-systems communicate with each other. A person lives in biological, psychological, and social worlds. On a social level, for example, your boss might declare, "Johnson, that is the worst A423 Assembly I've seen in 40 years at this factory." In other words, Johnson's behavior had been judged substandard by his boss, and the boss informed him of this. Johnson most likely had physical and mental reaction(s) to his boss' actions.

Constituent parts inside each of the three levels of the "human bio-psych-social system" send information to each other and to the other subsystems. For example, nerves in your foot might send a signal to your brain indicating "tremendous pain." Urgent messages from the body (e.g., "getting no oxygen") can work their way up into the focal attention of the executive or decision making agents of the nervous system. But most information in the nervous system never rises to the level of conscious awareness or "focal attention."

microIT Infrastructure, LLC's Heart Rate Variability Measuring Device for iOS

You might notice if your heart starts to "race" or "skip a beat," but mostly you are not thinking about it. An increasing amount of scientific evidence indicates that: (1) certain aspects of heart action promote competent brain behavior, that is, they help a person think more competently; and, (2) people can learn to increase this helpful heart activity if they are shown real time measurements of it. [1],[2],[3]

Accordingly, microIT built a device that measures, analyzes, and reports to you information about changes in your heart's action in real time, specifically, heart rate variability (HRV). This is a measure of how frequently your heart beat changes over small segments of time, like one or two seconds. When your doctor tells you your pulse is 60 beats per minute, your pulse is really changing from 56 to 59 to 60 to 63 to 55 and so on within a few seconds. This sort of variability is almost never indicative of disease or abnormal heart function. In fact, there seems to be little doubt among bio-psychologists that relatively large amounts of HRV are associated with higher levels of mental competence and physical health. [1],[2],[3],[4]

Our device intuitively and graphically depicts changes in HRV on the screen of your Apple mobile device. Anxiousness makes presentation of HRV get smaller while feelings of relaxation or joy make HRV presentation get larger. HRV can also be affected by breathing. Our device has many potential uses. For example, you can notice how your HRV changes in response to different stimuli such as an attractive person you've just met, or pictures of people from your past you have saved on your phone. In effect, our HRV app lets you see how your heart reacts to aspects of your social, work, and internal psychological environments.

Please check back for updates on our app's status. We will be providing an app release date in the near future. If you would like to receive emails regarding news, updates, and our app release date, please feel free to contact Andrew L. Jaffee, Owner, microIT Infrastructure, LLC, by clicking here and sending us an email. Thank you for your interest and stay tuned!


Endnotes

[1] Porges, S. (2011). The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachments, Communications, and Self-Regulation. New York: Norton.

[2] Bernstein. W.M. (2014). The Realisation of Concepts. London; Karnac.

[3] Bernstein, W.M. (2014). A basic and applied model of the body-mind system. In, Gendolla et al (Eds.) Handbook of Biobehavioral Approaches to Self-Regulation. New York: Springer.

[4] Luque-Casado, A., et al. Cognitive Performance and Heart Rate Variability: The Influence of Fitness Level. PLoS One. 2013; 8(2): e56935. online 2013 Feb 20. doi: 01.71/journal.pone.0056935.