Peer-reviewed Neurology Publication on Medibio Science

Medibio announces that a clinical article by Defillo et al. titled “Physiological Differences between Mood Disorder Phenotypes Based on Heart Rate Variability” has been published in EC Neurology, an internationally peer-reviewed journal.


Psychiatric conditions have always been diagnosed by clinical interview of patients. Diagnostic accuracy based on this subjective method of psychiatric diagnosis is limited by many factors including skill of the clinician in interviewing psychiatric patients, patient’s insight into their symptoms and ability to verbalize distinct characteristics of their symptoms. Use of objective measures for diagnosing psychiatric conditions has not been available to clinicians to improve diagnostic accuracy.

Hear rate and hear rate variability (HRV), specifically time and spectral domains, have been employed in psychiatry conditions (especially depression, anxiety, or both as comorbid), as an accurate, reproducible and non-invasive tool for the assessment of autonomic nervous system dysfunction [1-6]. HRV is now widely investigated as a bio-physiological marker for a variety of mental disorders including, unipolar and bipolar disorders, dysthymia, and schizophrenia [1,5-7].

In mental illness, due to multifactorial reasons, diagnosing particular condition is still challenging by experienced clinicians. The presence of comorbid conditions, such as anxiety and depression, always make the clinical diagnosis more difficult and cumbersome. A unique characteristic of HRV when evaluation and monitoring mental illness is the diversity of patterns that exists between behavioral conditions and the response of HRV to the severity of the symptoms [6,8-13].

Concerning HRV in depression, a reduced parasympathetic activity and a shift of autonomic balance toward sympathetic activation have been demonstrated by researchers in the recent past [6,11,12,14]. The severity of depressive symptoms has been correlated with a profound reduction in parasympathetic modulation [6,11,12,14]. In anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, a reduction in HRV has also been reported [6,16-21]. However, it seems in anxious individual’s heart rate changes are more prominent than extreme variations in HRV [21].

Our research demonstrates the value of using autonomic assessment when comparing the patho-physiological profiles of depression and anxiety in order to determine the physiological differences between mood disorder phenotypes.

Link to full article