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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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