Collaboration with Dr Angie Morrow, 2011 – ongoing
The BrightHearts Research project is investigating the application of George Khut’s heart-rate controlled artworks for use during medical procedures – as a biofeedback assisted relaxation-training app to help manage the pain and anxiety experienced by children who undergo recurrent painful procedures, such as injections for Botulinim (‘Botox’) treatments, Baclofen pump changes, central line changes, and lumbar punctures.
The recurrent nature of these procedures can result in a build-up of anticipatory anxiety, causing significant distress to the children, exacerbating the perceived intensity of the painful stimulus during treatment, and further complicating veinipuncture procedures in cases of extreme vasoconstriction. If left un-addressed, the intense distress and anxiety experienced during these procedures can lead to avoidance behaviours that may stay with them into adulthood. .
Children using the BrightHearts App before and during anxiety provoking procedures are rewarded with sounds and visuals that respond to decreases in heart rate over different periods of time i.e. changes that they can influence with their breathing, and longer-term changes that require relaxation.
The BrightHearts approach combines standard distraction methods with the principals of biofeedback relaxation training – focusing children’s attention away from their object of their anxiety and fear, and helping them to develop skills for observing and regulating their response during painful procedures.