“Wysa, the leading global AI-powered mental health platform, today, during Mental Health Awareness Month, announced a $5.5M Series A financing round led by W Health Ventures, a Boston-based digital health investor. Others participating in the round include the Google Assistant Investment program, and existing investors pi Ventures and Kae Capital. Wysa will use this capital to support its offering to employers who want to expand their mental health benefits, as well as scale up Wysa’s sales team and therapist network. [Read more…] about Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot Wysa raises $5.5M to broaden access to mental health support
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, starting with some ideas to get in the mood for Brain Awareness Week next month (March 15–21st). May BAW 2021 be a hundred times more upbeat than last year’s…
#2. Imagine what this capability may mean just a few years from now. Should/ will Google alert Gmail users about their (future) cognitive status? Study: Artificial intelligence program identifies linguistic markers that predict, with 70% accuracy, who gets Alzheimer’s Disease years later
#3. Similar to what happened to Thync back in 2016, Halo Neuroscience struggled to commercialize tDCS as a non-medical device and the technology is being repurposed for clinical use. Neuromodulation developer Halo Neuroscience closes its doors; Flow Neuroscience acquires assets
#4. Here you have a couple recent meta-analyses suggesting a growing adoption in the near future of web-based, and increasingly personalized, interventions. Growing research points to expanding adoption of online cognitive behavioral therapies, both guided and unguided
#5. “If there is anything we’ve seen out of this year, it’s really become that fourth pillar of benefits for every employer out there. Everyone has medical, dental and vision. Mental health has now really become that fourth pillar of benefits for all employers.” — Alyson Watson, CEO and founder of Modern Health. Four trends accelerating mental health innovation in the COVID/ post-COVID era
#6. “Access to mental healthcare is a human right that shouldn’t be buried by stigma, lack of access, or affordability.” — Oliver Harrison, CEO of Koa Health. Digital mental health start-up Koa Health raises €30M to accelerate growth in Europe and the US
#7. “Just as the viral pandemic has accelerated vaccine development, this global crisis has brought together mental health experts from the public and private sector around the world to address what is surely a second pandemic triggered by loss, anxiety, and social isolation” — Thomas Insel, MD, co-founder of Humanest Care. Survey finds concerns AND hope to address growing mental health needs due to the covid pandemic
#9. “The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) has reviewed almost 600 mental health apps … only 29.6% meet quality thresholds” The landscape of digital mental health apps: huge unmet needs, quality concerns, app stores asked to ensure transparency
#10. Finally, an idea out there worth exploring … Next: Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy?
Have a healthy and stimulating month of March,
The SharpBrains Team
In a recent development, Barcelona-based digital mental healthcare provider, Koa Health, has announced it closed an oversubscribed €30M Series A funding round … The company had raised the funds back in October 2020 and had also announced its spin-out from Alpha, Telefónica’s startup factory. [Read more…] about Digital mental health start-up Koa Health raises €30M to accelerate growth in Europe and the US
Research published today shows how digital providers are coming together to support the mental health needs of millions of users unable to access traditional services during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Read more…] about Survey finds concerns AND hope to address growing mental health needs due to the covid pandemic
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring 14 research findings, resources and tips for brain health … and starting with this fascinating study:
- Five are “neck up:” Lower education level, Lower cognitive activity, Head trauma, Repeated episodes of depression, High-levels of long-term stress.
- Five are “neck down:” Hypertension in mid-life, Orthostatic hypotension, Diabetes, High BMI, High levels of homocysteine. Systematic review finds ten lifestyle factors that clearly impact the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
#3. “The healthiest people are the ones who grow with age and experience; even in times of trouble like these.” — Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, President of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. On Stress, Yoga Meditation, and The Evolution Revolution
#4. “Acceptance that Alzheimer’s disease is a lifestyle disease, little different from other age-related diseases, that is the sum of a lifetime is the most important breakthrough of the decade.” — George Perry, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Higher body mass index (BMI) linked to lower blood supply to the brain in large neuroimaging study
#5. “Attention is a scarce resource. Think about your attentional focus as the beam of a light. If the light is on an object it cannot be on other objects at the same time with the same intensity … Although we typically have the feeling that multitasking saves us time, it is often not the case.” Simple, quick brain teaser to test the limits of multitasking
#6. If it appears to rotate, RT Fun optical illusion to tease your mind
#7. Every cloud has a silver lining: How and when will the telemedicine surge reach mental healthcare?
#9. “In a time when emotions like stress, anxiety, boredom, and anger are hard to avoid, a new study suggests that a particular meditation practice can help us face them.” Study: Meditation practice, both formal and informal, helps develop equanimity over time
#10. Ever since discovering Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s life trajectory via Normain Doidge’s fantastic book The Brain That Changes Itself, we have been impressed by her creativity, stamina and courage. Coming soon: Virtual World Tour at the frontier of applied neuroplasticity, education and learning difficulties
#11. “Neural signals will be used to develop algorithms that will help researchers determine the optimal brain state under which individuals can receive information. From there, the team will determine the most effective means of enhancing the subjects’ ability to intake and process information. This could range from non-invasive neuromodulation—or brain stimulation—techniques to the use of augmented reality to alter perceived environmental conditions.” Air Force announces research platform to harness closed-loop neurotechnology and accelerate learning “on the fly”
#12. Good to hear that “ensuring the privacy and security of study participants’ data is a high priority for both UCLA and Apple. UCLA will process and maintain study data in a secure environment … UCLA and Apple will analyze the data only after they are coded and stripped of names and other contact information.” UCLA launches major mental health study collecting & analyzing data from Apple wearables to better understand depression and anxiety
#13. Flexibility is good except when it isn’t: Study finds how scientists can reach different conclusions analyzing the same brain scans
#14. “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one” — Gandhi, as quoted in Seven evidence-based reasons to start meditating yesterday
Wishing you a safe and healthy September,
Alvaro Fernandez on behalf of the SharpBrains Team
Covid-19 Pandemic Drives Patients—and Deal Makers—to Telemedicine (The Wall Street Journal):
The coronavirus pandemic has put the once-niche category of telemedicine in the spotlight and is now driving a flurry of deal activity involving virtual health-care providers … Patients have embraced virtual care as a way to stay in touch with doctors for urgent care or chronic care management without risking exposure to the coronavirus by visiting medical offices. Telemedicine visits are typically conducted between a doctor and patient using videoconferencing or a phone call and are used to address minor ailments like colds as well as management of chronic conditions like diabetes. [Read more…] about Debate: How and when will the telemedicine surge reach mental healthcare?