• Project Title: Examining White Coat Hypertension and Considering the Effectiveness of Neurohacking on Remediating the Condition

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Allison James

  • Internship Location: Manhattan Integrative Cardiovascular

Doctor’s offices make everyone nervous, but for some, physician anxiety is more than sweaty palms and shaky limbs: it can lead to a higher mortality rate and a decreased quality of life. White coat hypertension refers to a condition in which an individual's blood pressure (BP) becomes elevated solely when they are in the presence of medical staff or in a medical environment, but returns to normal when they are in non-medical settings. This elevated blood pressure can be a precursor to more fatal heart disease, and prevent the patient from receiving proper medical care. Within my study, I will research ways to remediate white coat hypertension using simplistic neurohacking - specifically focusing on the practices of expressing gratitude and listening to calming music - both of which have been shown to reduce anxiety and cardiac stress. I will conduct my experiment in a cardiology office where I will see patients with a history of white coat hypertension. As part of my experimental plan, I will instruct participating patients to listen to music and write short responses on what they feel thankful for before a BP reading. Then, I will compare the BP reading to previous measurements within their patient files. The results of my experiment will show if easy neurohacking methods can be implemented into medical practices to alleviate this serious cardiac condition. White coat hypertension affects 1 in 5 adults, and discovering applicable and realistic ways to improve medical experiences and treatment for those affected can have a positive impact on all who visit the doctor.