The US Navy is developing a game-based iPad app that will train soldiers in techniques to handle stress. The goal is to prevent the development of PTSD. PTSD is a significant problem affecting 21% of military personnel involved with overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The theory is that better handling of stressful situations presently decreases the incidence of the development of PTSD later.

The app, known as the Stress Resilience Training System (SRTS), teaches users biofeedback techniques to deal with stressful situations based on their individual needs.

It uses a heart rate monitor attached to an earlobe to evaluate heart rate variability (HRV) as a sign of stress. It is worth noting that further research is necessary to establish HRV as a reliable measure clinically.

SRTS has four sections: Know How, Techniques, Games, and Review. The Know How section provides basic information about stress and how this information can be applied. Techniques teaches ways for the user to prepare for and handle stressful situations. Games allows the user to practice what they have learned, and Review allows the user to track their progress.

Like many technologies developed for the military, the success of this app as a training tool could be useful in applications outside of the military. Similar apps could be created to help any patient that would benefit from improved stress management.

Source: Medical Xpress