The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a clinical trial using a neuroimaging helmet made by Los Angeles-based Kernel to track what happens in the brain when a human takes a psychedelic dose of ketamine. [Read more…] about FDA-approved, Cybin-sponsored clinicial trial to measure ketamine’s impact on the brain via Kernel Flow neuroimaging helmet
Technology & Innovation
Electroencephalography is a decades-old technique for capturing brain activity, data that are used to evaluate brain disorders. Beacon Biosignals is applying artificial intelligence to these tests, and the neurotechnology startup has found a ready market in pharmaceutical companies interested in assessing how their experimental brain therapies are working. Now Beacon Biosignals has something else: $27 million in financing. [Read more…] about Beacon Biosignals raises $27M to scale EEG, AI-based neurobiomarker discovery platform
The Digital Therapeutics Alliance Welcomes Decision by the CPT® Editorial Panel to Clarify Reporting of Remote Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Monitoring Services (press release):
As the leading international organization on digital therapeutic thought leadership and education, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) welcomes the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) Editorial Panel’s recent decision to clarify reporting of remote cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) monitoring services. The changes to the CPT code set reflect the growing recognition that digital therapeutics (DTx) are an effective treatment for patients with mental health conditions and physicians should ultimately be reimbursed for their time spent prescribing, monitoring, and supplying online CBT technologies. [Read more…] about The American Medical Association’s (AMA) to ease access to remote Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Monitoring
Another medtech developer’s plans to create digital therapeutics to treat a wide range of illnesses are clicking into place, thanks to a third multimillion-dollar investment in Click Therapeutics in barely a year. [Read more…] about Click Therapeutics raises further $52M to build up digital therapeutics pipeline for depression, insomnia, smoking cessation and more
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this time eight scientific reports and industry resources plus a few fun brain teasers.
“Girls who spent less than an hour on screens and boys who spent less than 90 minutes on screens were not negatively impacted by it. But at higher amounts of screen time, their life satisfaction dropped significantly—they were less happy with their lives, and it got worse the more time they spent … (the) study also found that teens who got more regular exercise had greater life satisfaction and fewer physical complaints for both genders. Not only that, the effects were largely unrelated to how much time a teen spent on screens, so that if teens exercised more, it could potentially undo the damage to their well-being that went along with even six or eight hours of screen time.”
‘Obesity and depression are both major global health challenges, and our study provides the most robust evidence to date that higher BMI causes depression,’ said lead author Jess O’Loughlin. ‘Understanding whether physical or social factors are responsible for this relationship can help inform effective strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing.’
Let’s hope! — “I think Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) will continue to be adapted for more problems, diagnoses, and conditions. We will train many kinds of caregivers, teachers, front-line workers, police, and even politicians.”
“We discovered that the most predictive model – representing the most common mode of city navigation – was not the quickest path, but instead one that tried to minimize the angle between the direction a person is moving and the line from the person to their destination … Evolution is a story of trade-offs, not optimizations, and the cognitive load of calculating a perfect path rather than relying on the simpler pointing method might not be worth a few saved minutes. After all, early humans had to preserve brain power for dodging stampeding elephants, just like people today might need to focus on avoiding aggressive SUVs.”
“Designed with the help of Dutch academic Isabela Granic … the game is centred around an avatar who stays in bed for the day and aims to relax players by using soothing music, muted colours and self-care practices. Think meditative tasks such as word games and guided breathing exercises. There’s no way to win, compete or binge – in fact, it deliberately starts to feel boring after a few minutes of play, which disincentivizes mindless scrolling. #SelfCare was an instant hit, garnering half a million downloads in its first six weeks without any advertising…”
“What made this proof-of-principle trial successful was the discovery of a neural biomarker – a specific pattern of brain activity that indicates the onset of symptoms – and the team’s ability to customize a new DBS device to respond only when it recognizes that pattern. The device then stimulates a different area of the brain circuit, creating on-demand, immediate therapy that is unique to both the patient’s brain and the neural circuit causing her illness.”
“After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies that the prescription drug be given to individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s, the groups in which the medication was studied.
Yet this narrower recommendation raises questions. What does a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment mean? Is Aduhelm appropriate for all people with mild cognitive impairment, or only some? And who should decide which patients qualify for treatment: dementia specialists or primary care physicians?”
“With data breaches on the rise, the FTC is looking to make health apps more accountable for telling patients when their data has been exposed.”
Wishing you and yours a sweet Halloween and a healthy month of November,
The SharpBrains Team
Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about how Instagram was affecting teen mental health. In particular, some internal studies at Facebook (which owns Instagram) appeared to confirm that when teen girls used the site, they suffered poorer body image and were at increased risk for depression and eating disorders.
But is social media use itself at fault for making teen mental health worse? While some studies suggest it is, others paint a more nuanced picture, finding it difficult to pinpoint problems with screen time itself versus other factors sometimes associated with social media use that may reduce teen well-being—like cyberbullying or social isolation. Plus, current conclusions are often based on data from a single point in time, which makes it hard to prove that extended screen time actually causes poorer mental health.
Now, findings from an international study on teens (details below) add more to this debate and point toward potential guidelines for screen use. Focusing on over 577,000 adolescents from 42 countries across Europe and North America, the study’s results suggest that we might not have to worry about screen time in smaller doses, until it reaches a certain harmful level, and that exercise can play a protective role no matter how much time a teen spends on screens. [Read more…] about Study finds ultimate hack to protect teen brains from harmful screen time: Exercise (and good role-modeling)