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Neuropsychologist Amy Serin, Co-Founder of Brainnovations Winner The Touchpoint Solution, would like to see everyone avoid the detrimental effects of an overactive stress response

Dr. Serin, what sur­prised you the most from the Judges’ ques­tions and feed­back dur­ing the Brain­no­va­tions Pitch Con­test?

It was great that at least one of the judges had already pur­chased and start­ed using our prod­uct so we could delve into the nuances of our tech­nol­o­gy quick­ly. And I was thrilled that all judges saw the pos­si­bil­i­ties to cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant glob­al impact.

In a nut­shell, what is the core idea behind Touch­Points?

Too many peo­ple suf­fer too much stress, often lead­ing to sleep­less­ness, crav­ings, anger, poor focus, poor per­for­mance, and feel­ing over­whelmed. Touch­Points aim at reduc­ing stress by deliv­er­ing hap­tic microvi­bra­tions via wear­able devices worn on both sides of the body. The bi-lat­er­al alter­nat­ing stim­u­la­tion (BLAST) tech­nol­o­gy can help reduce stress sig­nif­i­cant­ly while the wear­er mul­ti-tasks at home, work, or school. The key is that our wear­ables don’t sim­ply give infor­ma­tion or cues — they can actu­al­ly help reduce stress.

When and how did the idea come to you?

The idea evolved over the last decade while I was prac­tic­ing neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy and ther­a­py. I found out EMDR (eye move­ment desen­si­ti­za­tion and repro­cess­ing) ther­a­pists who were help­ing treat PTSD in groups of peo­ple as vol­un­teers in con­flict areas, and who often report­ed that after ther­a­py peo­ple are less like­ly to get PTSD a sec­ond time. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many peo­ple don’t get any imme­di­ate or ongo­ing treat­ment after trau­ma, as one-on-one ther­a­py is expen­sive and time con­sum­ing.

So I first became an EMDR Ther­a­pist myself and then tried to iso­late the bi-lat­er­al stim­u­la­tion in pro­to­types using avail­able tech­nol­o­gy. It became my mis­sion to put BLAST into afford­able wear­ables to give every­one access to this. Stress being so per­va­sive in our lives, I think peo­ple deserve tools out­side of the doc­tor’s office to improve their lives.

What’s your vision for Brain Health in 2025 and how do you envi­sion Touch­Point as part of it?

By 2025 I would like to see every­one liv­ing their best by avoid­ing the detri­men­tal effects of an over­ac­tive stress response, and for Touch­Points to be afford­able and wide­ly acces­si­ble via cor­po­rate well­ness part­ner­ships, mul­ti­ple dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels, and schol­ar­ship pro­grams. By 2025 I hope we will know much more about stress and how to best deal with it.

As a per­son­al note I’d love to be a Brain­no­va­tions Judge in 2025. I mean, what’s cool­er than see­ing all those com­pa­nies at the cut­ting edge of neu­ro­science and life improve­ment?

How are you fund­ing the com­pa­ny so far, and are you plan­ning to raise funds this year?

We have pri­mar­i­ly boot­strapped so far, as my co-founder, CEO Vic­ki Mayo, and I believe in con­scious cap­i­tal­ism and want­ed to get the com­pa­ny on a sol­id foot­ing before tak­ing invest­ments. We also raised over $250k via Indiegogo, and are get­ting $400k as we speak thanks to the Ele­va­tor Pitch TV show by Entre­pre­neur mag­a­zine. We may be rais­ing fur­ther funds lat­er in the year.

How do you/ will you val­i­date that your solu­tions do what they are sup­posed to?

We first cre­at­ed a sol­id sci­en­tif­ic advi­so­ry board to guide our research strat­e­gy, and have been work­ing on three dou­ble-blind place­bo-con­trolled research projects and a vari­ety of col­lab­o­ra­tions. We are in the process of pub­lish­ing sev­er­al papers, and writ­ing grant pro­pos­als fir fur­ther research.

What are some key road­blocks ahead, and how are you plan­ning to address them?

Our biggest hill to climb is chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo and edu­cat­ing the pub­lic about the stress response and what real­ly works. Peo­ple think stress is very com­pli­cat­ed and some­thing we need to live with, our med­ical sys­tems tend to use inva­sive, expen­sive ‘solu­tions,’ and so many com­pa­nies are cre­at­ing so many prod­ucts that there’s a lot of con­fu­sion and noise in the space.

If you could go back in time to, say, 5–10 years ago, what advice would you have liked to receive?

Ten years ago I gave birth to my old­est son. I wish some­one would have told me not to wor­ry so much …

Final­ly, if I may, what do you do to stay sharp 🙂

I use cut­ting-edge meth­ods from my clin­ics, like neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion and cir­ca­di­an rhythm reg­u­la­tion, wear Touch­Points and go to EMDR Ther­a­py when need­ed, eat veg­eta­bles almost every morn­ing, work­out con­sis­tent­ly, main­tain pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships, express grat­i­tude and kind­ness, and I nev­er, ever, ever stress about the fact that I’m a total and com­plete nerd.

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Dr. Amy Serin is the Pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal Soci­ety and the Co-Founder & Chief Sci­ence Offi­cer at The Touch­point Solu­tion. She is cred­it­ed with invent­ing BLAST (Bi-Lat­er­al Alter­nat­ing Stim­u­la­tion deliv­ered Tac­tile) tech­nol­o­gy as part of neu­ro­science research and prac­tice at The Serin Cen­ters. Dr. Serin over­sees research part­ner­ships with uni­ver­si­ties across the globe, and has been named Phoenix Young Woman of The Year and Advo­cate of The Year, among oth­er recog­ni­tions.

Thanks to her great pitch and answers dur­ing the 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (slid­edeck avail­able below), The Touch­Point Solu­tion was select­ed as the Top Brain­no­va­tion to Boost Work­place Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Resilience.

To Learn More about Stress and Stress Regulation:

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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