– Monica Smith, DC, PhD –
A primary focus of Life Chiropractic College West is to provide chiropractic care that is wellness-focused and supports optimal human vitality and performance. While numerous biomarkers assess health status in the disease state, their performance in the non-disease portion of the healthcare continuum is largely unknown.
Life West Research has been compiling scientific literature that identifies wellness biomarkers with good potential for use as wellness-focused clinical outcome assessment tools to add to the body of research on the efficacy of the chiropractic adjustment. This has enabled the Life West research team to evaluate the best candidates for vitalistic and wellness biomarkers and technology that are suitable for applications in our human performance and clinical research programs.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between heartbeats. An optimal level of variability is critical to the inherent flexibility and adaptability or resilience that characterizes healthy function and well-being. Because HRV is under moment-to-moment autonomic control, it provides a noninvasive way to monitor dynamic changes in the sympathetic and parasympathetic balance of the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, HRV provides an important means for studying autonomic balance.
Rapid autonomic responses enable us to adapt to changes that occur frequently in our environment. Moreover, autonomic activity influences most body systems and is known to be active along the full range of the health spectrum. Actigraphy is the assessment of physical activity or motion. Activity monitoring devices (actigraphs), contain accelerometers and internal memory to record weeks to months of data.
Several studies have reported strong correlation between sleep, optimal performance, and wellness. Life West researchers recently performed a Proof of Concept study of 24-hour HRV (24-HRV) coupled with rest/activity monitoring (Actigraphy) for assessing the duration and quality of sleep. The biomarker recordings using Holter (DVS myPatch®) and wrist-worn (Acti Watch®) technology are being analyzed now alongside data from the research subjects’ sleep diaries marking start and end of “bedtime” and wake-up periods.
This Life West Research study has been accepted for presentation at the July 2022 ACCRAC to report our preliminary analyses of objective data from twenty four hour HRV and actigraphy recordings concurrent with subjective self-reported sleep diaries, comparing morning, mid-day, evening, and sleep time periods.
Human Performance Research Lab
Life West Research is advancing our understanding of chiropractic using biomarker technology in our Human Performance Research Lab. Our in-house portfolio of research equipment includes devices for measuring HRV as well as EEG technology.