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Paul Lehrer, Ph.D.

Rutgers UniversityEOHSI – Clinical Research and Occupational Medicine
RWJMS Room D335 675 Hoes Lane West Piscataway NJ 08852 Work Phone: 732-235-4413
Photo of Paul Lehrer Ph.D.

Biographical Info

Research Areas

  • Heart rate variability biofeedback as a treatment for asthma: a complement or alternative to steroids?
  • Psychological treatment of comorbid asthma and panic disorder
  • Heart rate variability biofeedback as a treatment for chronic drug and alcohol abuse
  • Psychophysiological correlates of emotional stimulation: relationship to chronic mood states, and tendencies to substance abuse
  • Measurement of adaptability and health: modeling control systems, oscillations as reflecting system stability
  • Exploring psychophysiological treatment approaches for patients with multiple unexplained physical symptoms
  • Psychophysiological factors in human optimal performance

Research Highlights

  • Found that heart rate variability biofeedback is 100% effective in preventing asthma exacerbations, while allowing lower doses of steroids, producing better pulmonary function, and fewer symptoms
  • Found that heart rate variability biofeedback improves symptomatology and depression among individuals with multiple unexplained physical symptoms
  • Found that people with negative mood states tend to have a greater thoracic than abdominal component in breathing
  • Developed a cognitive behavioral treatment that effectively helps people with comorbid asthma and panic disorder, improving both diseases, allowing less use of albuterol
  • Found that airplane pilots show patterns of hyperventilation and psychophysiological hyperarousal during difficult flight tasks
  • Found that sighing plays an important role in regulation of the respiratory system
  • Stimulation of the baroreflexes by heart rate variability biofeedback: a method for increasing autonomic stability and homeostasisa

Scholarly Activities

  • Associate editor, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and International Journal of Stress Management
  • Recent keynote talks to various scholarly organizations, including:
    • Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    • German Biofeedback Society
    • Baltic Area Biofeedback Society
    • International Society for Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology
    • American Society for Clinical Hypnosis
  • Member of the Research Committee, UMDNJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • President, USA branch of the International stress Management Association
  • Past president of Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and the International Association for Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology
  • Found that heart rate variability biofeedback decreases the autonomic downregulation produced by exposure to inflammatory cytokines

Recent Publications

  1. Aschbacher, K, Mather, M, Lehrer, P, Gevirtz, R, Epel, E, Peiper, NC. Real-time heart rate variability biofeedback amplitude during a large-scale digital mental health intervention differed by age, gender, and mental and physical health. Psychophysiology. 2024;61 (6):e14533. doi: 10.1111/psyp.14533. PubMed PMID:38454612
  2. Yoo, HJ, Nashiro, K, Dutt, S, Min, J, Cho, C, Thayer, JF, Lehrer, P, Chang, C, Mather, M. Daily biofeedback to modulate heart rate oscillations affects structural volume in hippocampal subregions targeted by the locus coeruleus in older adults but not younger adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2023;132 :85-99. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2023.08.010. PubMed PMID:37769491 PubMed Central PMC10840698
  3. Yoo, HJ, Nashiro, K, Dutt, S, Min, J, Cho, C, Thayer, JF, Lehrer, P, Chang, C, Mather, M. Daily biofeedback to modulate heart rate oscillations affects structural volume in hippocampal subregions targeted by the locus coeruleus in older adults but not younger adults. medRxiv. 2023; :. doi: 10.1101/2023.03.02.23286715. PubMed PMID:37745356 PubMed Central PMC10516053
  4. Bachman, SL, Cole, S, Yoo, HJ, Nashiro, K, Min, J, Mercer, N, Nasseri, P, Thayer, JF, Lehrer, P, Mather, M et al.. Daily heart rate variability biofeedback training decreases locus coeruleus MRI contrast in younger adults in a randomized clinical trial. Int J Psychophysiol. 2023;193 :112241. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2023.08.014. PubMed PMID:37647944 PubMed Central PMC10591988
  5. Yoo, HJ, Nashiro, K, Min, J, Cho, C, Mercer, N, Bachman, SL, Nasseri, P, Dutt, S, Porat, S, Choi, P et al.. Multimodal neuroimaging data from a 5-week heart rate variability biofeedback randomized clinical trial. Sci Data. 2023;10 (1):503. doi: 10.1038/s41597-023-02396-5. PubMed PMID:37516756 PubMed Central PMC10387077
  6. Bates, ME, Eddie, D, Lehrer, PM, Nolan, RP, Siepmann, M. Editorial: Integrated cardiovascular and neural system processes as potential mechanisms of behavior change. Front Psychiatry. 2023;14 :1175691. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1175691. PubMed PMID:37032946 PubMed Central PMC10074486
  7. Cho, C, Yoo, HJ, Min, J, Nashiro, K, Thayer, JF, Lehrer, PM, Mather, M. Changes in Medial Prefrontal Cortex Mediate Effects of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback on Positive Emotional Memory Biases. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2023;48 (2):135-147. doi: 10.1007/s10484-023-09579-1. PubMed PMID:36658380 PubMed Central PMC10195741
  8. Nashiro, K, Yoo, HJ, Cho, C, Min, J, Feng, T, Nasseri, P, Bachman, SL, Lehrer, P, Thayer, JF, Mather, M et al.. Correction: Effects of a Randomised Trial of 5-Week Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Intervention on Cognitive Function: Possible Benefits for Inhibitory Control. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2023;48 (1):49. doi: 10.1007/s10484-022-09563-1. PubMed PMID:36152080 PubMed Central PMC10074510
  9. Nashiro, K, Min, J, Yoo, HJ, Cho, C, Bachman, SL, Dutt, S, Thayer, JF, Lehrer, PM, Feng, T, Mercer, N et al.. Increasing coordination and responsivity of emotion-related brain regions with a heart rate variability biofeedback randomized trial. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2023;23 (1):66-83. doi: 10.3758/s13415-022-01032-w. PubMed PMID:36109422 PubMed Central PMC9931635
  10. Yoo, HJ, Nashiro, K, Min, J, Cho, C, Bachman, SL, Nasseri, P, Porat, S, Dutt, S, Grigoryan, V, Choi, P et al.. Heart rate variability (HRV) changes and cortical volume changes in a randomized trial of five weeks of daily HRV biofeedback in younger and older adults. Int J Psychophysiol. 2022;181 :50-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2022.08.006. PubMed PMID:36030986 PubMed Central PMC11195601
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