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Assessment of stress markers in restrained individuals following physical stress with and without sham CED activation

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine Volume: 74 Dated: 2020
Date Published

This study examined the psychological effects of anticipating and experiencing a sham controlled electrical device (CED) activation in healthy human subjects who were exercised and restrained compared with no sham activation by assessing the differences in a panel of several known biomarkers of stress. 


Law enforcement and pre-hospital care personnel often confront individuals who must be physically restrained. Many are under the influence of illicit substances, and law enforcement officers may need to use a controlled electrical device (CED) to gain control of the individual, and they are often placed into the prone maximum restraint (PMR) position. These techniques have previously been evaluated for their physiological effects. The current study performed a randomized, crossover controlled human subject trial to study the stress associated with exercise, physical exhaustion, and restraint with and without an added psychological stress simulating the field use of a CED. Twenty-five subjects  performed two different trials, each consisting of a brief period of intense exercise on a treadmill to exhaustion followed by placement in the PMR with and without induced psychological stress. Blood samples were collected for analysis before and after exercise, as well as 10 minutes after completion of the exercise. A panel of hormones and stress markers were measured. The study found no significant differences in any of the stress biomarkers measured between the two study groups. A trend towards higher levels of copeptin was measured in the sham CED activation arm. During a brief period of intense exercise followed by the psychological stress of anticipated CED application, there did not appear to be statistically significant changes in the stress panel of biomarkers measured, only a trend towards significance for higher copeptin levels in the patients exposed to the psychological stress. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020