Menopause-related symptoms, including frequency and severity of hot flashes, insomnia and depression were significantly reduced in women who received treatment with a noninvasive neurotechnology known as high-resolution, relational, resonance-based electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM), according to study results published in Menopause.
Estrogen levels fluctuate and eventually decline, thereby causing impaired temperature regulation, potentially associated with resetting in patterns of brain electrical activity, to produce menopausal symptoms, lead study author Charles H. Tegeler, MD, professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a press release.
HIRREM operates by identifying dominant brain frequencies through high-resolution spectral analysis of noninvasively recorded brain electrical activity, according to background information in the article. Those dominant frequencies are translated into auditory tones of varying pitch and timing that are rapidly presented as acoustic feedback through earbuds.
This is intended to allow the brain to relax and therefore, on its own, to improve balance in brain electrical activity, Dr. Tegeler said.
The pilot study included 12 women aged 46 to 69 years with hot flashes who recorded frequency and severity in a daily diary. At the study’s outset, the participants underwent baseline assessments of brain electrical frequencies and amplitudes.
HIRREM was administered during an average of 13 90-minute sessions over a median of 9.5 days. Participants returned for a visit to collect follow-up data at a median of 10 days after their last session.
Median change in hot flash severity score was –0.97 (P=.015), and sleep and depression scores also decreased by –8.5 points (P=.022) and –5.5 points (P=.015), respectively, according to the data.
The researchers also reported that median sum of amplitudes for the right and left temporal high-frequency brain electric activity decreased by a median of –2.96 KV from 8.44 KV at baseline (P=.0005) by the final session.
“Our study found that there were statistically significant reductions in the hot flash severity score, which incorporates both frequency and severity of symptoms, as well as decreased symptoms of insomnia and depression, and decreased amplitudes in the high-frequency range of temporal lobe brain electrical activity,” Dr. Tegeler said.
Despite these promising data, the small size of the study and lack of a control group and long-term follow-up prevented the researchers from drawing firm conclusions. Future controlled trials in larger populations with longer-term follow-up are warranted.