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Paul Lehrer Ph.D.

Rutgers UniversityEOHSI – Clinical Research and Occupational Medicine
Work 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. Lehrer, P, Kaur, K, Sharma, A, Shah, K, Huseby, R, Bhavsar, J, Zhang, Y. Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Improves Emotional and Physical Health and Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2020; :. doi: 10.1007/s10484-020-09466-z. PubMed PMID:32385728
  2. Lehrer, PM, Vaschillo, EG, Vidali, V. Heart Rate and Breathing Are Not Always in Phase During Resonance Frequency Breathing. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2020; :. doi: 10.1007/s10484-020-09459-y. PubMed PMID:32285231
  3. Economides, M, Lehrer, P, Ranta, K, Nazander, A, Hilgert, O, Raevuori, A, Gevirtz, R, Khazan, I, Forman-Hoffman, VL. Feasibility and Efficacy of the Addition of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback to a Remote Digital Health Intervention for Depression. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2020;45 (2):75-86. doi: 10.1007/s10484-020-09458-z. PubMed PMID:32246229
  4. Shah, K, Ramos-Garcia, M, Bhavsar, J, Lehrer, P. Mind-body treatments of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: An updated meta-analysis. Behav Res Ther. 2020;128 :103462. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2019.103462. PubMed PMID:32229334
  5. Nelson, KL, Lu, SE, Oken, T, Lehrer, PM, Feldman, JM. Further Exploration of Treatment Response in Latinos with Comorbid Asthma and Panic Disorder: A Brief Report of HRV and ETCO2 as Potential Mediators of Treatment Response. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2020;45 (2):67-74. doi: 10.1007/s10484-020-09454-3. PubMed PMID:32193714
  6. Bates, ME, Mun, EY, Buckman, JF, Vaschillo, E, Vaschillo, B, Lehrer, P, Udo, T, Lesnewich, LM. Getting to the Heart of Low Sensitivity to Alcohol: Context Moderates Low Cardiovascular Response to Alcohol in Persons With a Family History of Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. 2020;44 (3):589-599. doi: 10.1111/acer.14293. PubMed PMID:31984514 PubMed Central PMC7079052
  7. van der Zwan, JE, Huizink, AC, Lehrer, PM, Koot, HM, de Vente, W. The Effect of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Training on Mental Health of Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16 (6):. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16061051. PubMed PMID:30909539 PubMed Central PMC6466208
  8. Kim, S, Zemon, V, Lehrer, P, McCraty, R, Cavallo, MM, Raghavan, P, Ginsberg, JJ, Foley, FW. Emotion regulation after acquired brain injury: a study of heart rate variability, attentional control, and psychophysiology. Brain Inj. 2019;33 (8):1012-1020. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2019.1593506. PubMed PMID:30907142
  9. Eddie, D, Bates, ME, Vaschillo, EG, Lehrer, PM, Retkwa, M, Miuccio, M. Rest, Reactivity, and Recovery: A Psychophysiological Assessment of Borderline Personality Disorder. Front Psychiatry. 2018;9 :505. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00505. PubMed PMID:30386267 PubMed Central PMC6199964
  10. Lehrer, PM, Irvin, CG, Lu, SE, Scardella, A, Roehmheld-Hamm, B, Aviles-Velez, M, Graves, J, Vaschillo, EG, Vaschillo, B, Hoyte, F et al.. Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Does Not Substitute for Asthma Steroid Controller Medication. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2018;43 (1):57-73. doi: 10.1007/s10484-017-9382-0. PubMed PMID:29124506 PubMed Central PMC5871536
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