NEWS AND UPDATES
• e-resilence APP Clinical Trial with Refugees of war
• complex trauma biomarker research
We are conducting a proof-of-concept clinical trial for the eResilience Research App with refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. Our goal is to examine (1) the clinical efficacy of the 7-day curriculum in reducing PTSD among African refugees of war, and (2) the utility of electrophysiological and cognitive markers of trauma in predicting intervention outcome.
The identification of biomarkers among individuals of varied ethnic backgrounds with trauma related symptoms could help us address possible cross-cultural discrepancies in PTSD diagnosis, moreover assist in building better programs and objectively evaluating interventions in humanitarian settings.
Preliminary results will be available during semester 1, 2018, and full publication of results is expected by semester 2. If you would like more information about this study, please contact us.
current field project
The Sankofa Project was launched in June 2017 at an Ebola-impacted community in West Africa, and will also be implemented in South Sudanese settlements in Northern Uganda, and Rohingya settlements in Bangladesh between 2018-2020. Our objective is to document clinical efficacy of the intervention curriculum that we developed and utilised with thousands of trauma survivors over the years. Furthermore, make it scalable by digitising the program as the eResilience Community App for lay community facilitators.
• Short-term 7-day program for groups.
• Combined evidence-based clinical models.
• Neurophysiological framework.
• Psychological safety (no exposure techniques).
• Manualized curriculum.
• Audio tracks in local dialects for communities with high incidence of illiteracy*.
• DHIS 2 interface for Ministries of Health (MoHs)*.
• Research version available for scientists to evaluate clinical efficacy and improve content overtime.
*to be included in advanced versions.
The Clinical Evaluation Process
We are currently utilising the following tools during evaluation phases for a comprehensive health assessment of all participants at pre, 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the intervention:
• World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0)
• The PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 with Criterion A (PCL-5).
• Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).
• . Global Psychotrauma Screen (GPS).
Preliminary results for the first set of data (1-month follow-up for n=100, 3-month follow-up for n=46, 6-month follow-up for n=10) is estimated for January-February 2018, and raw data will be made available for independent statistical analyses upon project completion.
project proposals 2018+
PTSD qeeg mobile labs
Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a noninvasive, low-cost method to record electrical activity in the brain. It has been used to diagnose various medical conditions, and we are investigating how resting state EEG may also help us improve trauma diagnosis and measure treatment efficacy in remote places.
We are currently discussing partnerships to facilitate transportation, portable equipment and local training for our field teams. We aim to launch the first mobile units by semester 2, 2018 in both Liberia war and Ebola-impacted villages, and across South Sudanese refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. Between 2019-2020, with the support of field partners, we plan to commence expansion of PTSD qEEG data in new regions impacted by humanitarian emergencies beyond Africa.
We hope this project will be a big step towards the integration of mobile Neurofeedback (NF) programs across settlements and post-emergency zones. NF is a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) that allows us to rewire brain activity integrated to EEG technology. Preliminary research thus far indicates that NF may be a sustainable treatment option for traumatic stress. Further studies are needed to evaluate NF's efficacy, particularly among underrepresented traumatised populations.
performance art circles
Little is known about the effect that performance arts may have in promoting synchronicity of brain networks dysregulated by trauma. Yet, for centuries, many cultures have utilised such as a primary tool to cope with adversity. In 2019, we plan to launch a global performance arts project across three continents. Our goal will be to measure trauma recovery and the neurophysiological impact of local performance practices such as traditional dances, drumming, and singing, among adults and children traumatised by war and violence.
Photograph: Calabash Unite Us All, Liberian refugees performing local dances for SYNC's staff. Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana 2009.