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Angelo State CSS Researching SCENAR Device

April 09, 2013

A joint research project being conducted by Angelo State University’s Center for Security Studies (CSS) and Boston University’s Emergency Healthcare Management program could help lead to future health benefits for emergency services responders throughout the U.S.

The project, which got under way April 1, involves testing of the Russian-made Self Controlled Energo Neuro Adaptive Regulator, or SCENAR, which is a hand-held electrotherapeutic device FDA approved for non-invasive and non-narcotic treatment of chronic and acute pain, similar to a TENS unit. Originally developed for use by cosmonauts in the Russian space program, the SCENAR has been approved in several other countries to also treat a wider variety of ailments, including nervous system, respiratory, cardiovascular and locomotor disorders.

According to Professor Alexander Revenko, head scientist at the SCENAR Academy in Moscow, there are few illnesses the device could not treat, and often cure.

“The SCENAR causes the body’s self-healing to be affected by the release of neuro- and other peptides, commonly known as the body’s in-built pharmacy,” he said.

To test that theory, Drs. Manuel Zamora and John Blumentritt of the CSS faculty have joined with Drs. Kevin Thomas and Toni Bark of Boston University to determine if the SCENAR can be effective in reducing anxiety and fatigue and improving personal health in emergency responders, including firefighters, paramedics, police officers and law enforcement aviators.  The project involves measuring anxiety and fatigue in about 20 test subjects before and after five SCENAR treatment sessions spread over a 30-45-day period.

Emergency responders from San Angelo, Alpine and Houston, including members of the DPS and Customs and Border Patrol’s Air and Marine Unit, have volunteered to be test subjects.

“This is the first such scientific study involving two universities and members of the law enforcement profession in the greater San Angelo region and Southeast Texas,” Zamora said.  “The significance of this project is that it is truly scientific.  It is a triple-blind test using randomized samples and assignments in repeated measurements over a six-week period in multiple geographic locations.  It is also using three highly reliable and valid scales, the SF-36 Health Survey, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale and Epworth Sleepiness Scale.”

“The expected outcome,” he added, “is to contribute to relevant literature for the FDA to consider in deciding whether to approve the SCENAR for treatment of additional medical conditions of U.S. citizens.”

Collaboration on the project was first proposed by Dr. Bark of the Boston University School of Medicine.  While treating people in Haiti injured during an earthquake in 2010, she noticed the SCENAR’s positive effects on treating total body pain, and also in improving mood.

“For my first post-quake Haiti trip,” Bark said, “I decided to bring down a few devices to use on patients with crush injury and phantom limb pain.  I treated the pain patients very effectively using only SCENAR, as pain meds were in limited supply.  The phenomenon of ‘total body pain,’ or TBP as we coined it, seemed to be caused from the psychological stress of the quake, and responded to treatment quickly and completely.  Patients’ moods improved as well.”

“On my second post-quake Haiti trip,” she added, “I began to see patients who were admittedly depressed or anxious, having panic attacks since the quake – and treated those patients with the SCENAR.  The results were quick and effective.”

ASU graduate student Ryan Smith, an air interdiction specialist, and undergraduate Cason Wood, a volunteer firefighter, are also principal investigators and researchers on the SCENAR project.

“This type of study is typical of a Tier I research university,” Zamora said, “but it is atypical for ASU, which is considered a ‘teaching’ university.  So, it is a big deal for us.”

Any additional emergency responders interested in participating in the study can contact Zamora at 325-486-6686 or