Bringing Research Into Clinical Practice: Current Studies

Our mission is to bring together research and clinical practice to ensure that our interventions are evidence-based and at the forefront of the refugee trauma treatment field. As an activity of STARTTS, ANFI is committed to using research to expand knowledge related to the impact of refugee trauma on brain functioning and to evaluate efficacy of different neuromodulation techniques in working with refugee survivors of torture and trauma.

Current Studies:

Trauma Treatment Trial

A randomized-controlled trial evaluating EEG neurofeedback training adjunct to trauma counselling for reducing posttraumatic symptoms in adults with a refugee background.

Heart-Brain Trauma Study

Integrated heart-brain profiles in posttraumatic stress: Clinical applications of heartbeat evoked potentials and machine learning.


The primary aim of this project is to examine the efficacy of neurofeedback training for alleviating chronic posttraumatic stress symptoms in adult refugees in comparison to another active intervention. We hypothesize that NFT will be associated with a reduction in symptoms, accompanied by changes in functional brain activity associated with improved cognitive control and emotion regulation.


The psychological impacts of post-traumatic stress disorder are associated with changes in brain and heart activity patterns. Machine learning can help identify these patterns and associate them with the subtypes and symptom severity of PTSD. Classification of these biomarkers would improve the understanding of the trauma presentations and allows a discriminant function to be created to assist clinical decision making and intervention. This research is the first to explore the effects of heart rate on averaged brain activity in PTSD and in doing so seeks to synthetise endophenotype and vigilance profiles with polyvagal theory and the neurovisceral integration model to forma a hierarchical framework for PTSD classification.