The $14 million top-up came from a mix of old and new investors, co-led by Whitecap Venture Partners and Merck KGaA’s corporate VC arm, M Ventures, which also led the initial tranche of series A financing … The newly upsized funding will help Altoida add to its workforce, pay for intellectual property and regulatory filings and continue developing its tech platform to assess neurological function. [Read more…] about Altoida raises further $14 million to “democratize digital cognitive assessment at scale” via augmented reality (AR) and AI
Managing attention deficit disorder by training the brain (ScienceDaily):
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects about 7% of children, with a two out of three chance of persisting into adulthood. This neurodevelopmental disorder is characterised by concentration difficulties, increased distractibility, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Today, ADHD is treated with pharmaceutical drugs that may have unwanted side effects. This is why scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, explored a new technique called ‘neurofeedback’, which enables ADHD patients to train their attention, based on instant feedback from the level of their brain activity. [Read more…] about Study shows promising results of EEG-based brain training in helping adults with ADHD
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring a life well lived, the latest news on brain health and innovation, and some brain teasers in honor of International Brain Teaser Month.
#1. Thank you, Sharon. We won’t. “Never stop wondering” — Sharon Begley, science journalist, RIP
#2. Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in ____________.
Milk the cow, but do not pull off the ___________.
Enjoy these 5 US and 7 international proverbs to test your cognitive skills.
#3. Beware the snakes as you tease your mind with this optical illusion.
#4. The blood-brain barrier is hopefully hard at work: Can COVID-19 coronavirus “invade” human brain tissue? (Quick answer: evidence so far is mixed)
#5. Yes, a bit circular…but that’s the point: To manage stress, sleep better. To sleep better, keep a good routine and manage stress.
#6. Excellent article for those interested in state-of-the-art neurotech. The Promise of Big Data Imaging for Mental Health
#7. We’d much rather see the NIH or a fitness or nutrition company sponsor such a promising study, rather than a pharma company, but this is great news anyway: The new frontier in neurocognitive monitoring and dementia screening: the Apple Watch
#8. “I am encouraged by Cognito’s innovative approach,” said Allan Levey, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Emory University and Director of the Emory Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “This strategy translating recent advances in non-invasive modulation of brain activity with sensory stimulation with light and sound has the potential to be an urgently needed safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment for millions of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.” Neurostimulation device GammaSense by Cognito Therapeutics secures FDA Breakthrough Device Designation to explore Alzheimer’s Disease applications
#9. This can help a ton of people, given that “Currently, video EEG is the gold standard for seizure detection, but it requires a hospital stay, is often costly, and can be stigmatizing.” Study: Wearable sensors and machine learning may well (one day) help detect a broad range of epileptic seizures
#10. “While 66% accuracy may not sound high, it is an improvement on current accuracy levels of diagnosis by human clinicians, particularly general physicians who aren’t trained in psychiatry.” Machine learning study finds standardized brain scan biomarker to detect depression with 66% accuracy
#11. FDA releases first Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulatory plan to promote responsible digital health innovation. Two of the priorities are the “issuance of draft guidance on a predetermined change control plan (for software’s learning over time)” and “Developing methods to evaluate and improve machine learning algorithms.” Both are crucial given that data-driven innovation is in flux by definition, unlike drug-driven innovation.
#12. The law of averages suggests 2021 will be a good year … Here’s a toast to a Healthy, Happy & Meaningful New Year.
The SharpBrains Team
Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) today announced a new virtual research study, in collaboration with Apple, to investigate the role Apple Watch and iPhone could play in monitoring cognitive performance and screening for decline in cognitive health including mild cognitive impairment (MCI). [Read more…] about The new frontier in neurocognitive monitoring and dementia screening: the Apple Watch
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring fascinating neuroscience findings and tips, combined with fun brain teasers.
#1. To celebrate this quite-challenging Thanksgiving, here are five fun brain teasers that readers have enjoyed the most this year so far. It is always good to learn more about (and appreciate) that most precious resource we all (yes, all) have up there! Five fun brain teasers to thank evolution for our human brains and minds
#2. Want more? Ready, Set, Go! A few brain teasers to flex those cognitive muscles
#3. “[Breathing techniques] are allowing you to consciously take control of your breathing so you can take control of your nervous system so you can take control of your anxiety” — James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. New book shares science and techniques to breathe better and promote calmness not anxiety
#4. Voice does matter…especially in areas of potential disagreement. To call, or to text, that is the (mental well-being) question
#5. Fascinating research + innovation event brought by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and multiple partners. Save the Date: Promoting Brain Health for Life, December 15–16th, online.
#6. “This isn’t a battle between AI and doctors, it’s about how to optimize doctors’ ability to deliver better care” — P. Murali Doraiswamy, director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University. Next: Analyzing typing speed, speech and sleep patterns to identify cognitive decline, dementia, Parkinson’s, and more
#7. Google’s X team shares 3 valuable lessons learned from their ambitious and (for the time being) unsuccessful moonshot: Alphabet’s X shares Amber EEG system to expand the quest for mental health biomarkers
#8. “An exercise prescription is an important treatment option and a great adjunct to medications. The key is prescribing physical activity in a way that the patient will comply and remain engaged with.” Debate: How should doctors prescribe exercise to ensure compliance and engagement?
#9. As the study authors note, “The expansion of women into the labor force in the mid-20th century may have provided a new avenue of cognitive reserve for women via enhanced social stimulation and cognitive engagement.” Study: Work in adulthood seen to significantly delay memory decline after age 60, supporting the Cognitive Reserve theory
#10. “Throughout many subreddits, we found significant increases in the use of tokens related to isolation (eg, “lonely,” “can’t see anyone,” “quarantine”), economic stress (eg, “rent,” “debt,” “pay the bills”), and home (“fridge,” “pet,” “lease”), and a decrease in the lexicon related to motion (eg, “walk,” “visit,” “travel”).” Hopefully the promising vaccine news helps turn the tide; until then we need to promote mental health & resilience hard. Using Reddit as a population-level “mental health tracker” during the COVID pandemic
#11. “BCI devices can be non-invasive devices that users wear, or they can be invasive devices, which are surgically implanted,” says Veljko Dubljevi … “The invasive devices are more efficient, since they can read signals directly from the brain. However, they also raise more ethical concerns. For example, invasive BCI technologies carry more associated risks such as surgery, infection, and glial scarring — and invasive BCI devices would be more difficult to replace as technology improves.” Studies identify key ethical concerns raised by invasive and non-invasive neurotechnologies
#12. “(the app) uses the Watch’s sensors to track the heart rate and movement of users as they sleep. After establishing a baseline profile for the patient within one or two nights’ sleep, the machine learning algorithm spots heart rate or movement abnormalities presumably caused by a nightmare. The application then vibrates the smartwatch just enough to interrupt the wearer’s dreaming, but not enough to wake them up or disrupt their circadian sleep cycle.” FDA grants clearance for NightWare app designed to reduce PTSD-related nightmares
Wishing you a safe and healthy December,
Alvaro Fernandez and the SharpBrains Team
AI May Help Identify Patients With Early-Stage Dementia (The Wall Street Journal):
Researchers are studying whether artificial-intelligence tools that analyze things like typing speed, sleep patterns and speech can be used to help clinicians better identify patients with early-stage dementia. [Read more…] about Next: Analyzing typing speed, speech and sleep patterns to identify cognitive decline, dementia, Parkinson’s, and more