Smart Eye, the publicly traded Swedish company that supplies driver monitoring systems for a dozen automakers, has acquired emotion-detection software startup Affectiva for $73.5 million in a cash-and-stock deal. [Read more…] about Eye-tracking pioneer Smart Eye acquires MIT spin-off Affectiva to augment driver monitoring systems and more
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring eleven new research findings and innovative resources for lifelong cognitive and brain health.
#2. Either way, the earlier the better, but it’s never too late: New book outlines the five lifestyle pillars to “build a better brain at any age”
#3. “If I were a cardiologist evaluating a patient’s chest pain, for instance, I would speak with the patient, but then I would listen to their heart and measure their pulse and blood pressure. I might order an electrocardiogram or a cardiac stress test, tools that weren’t available a century ago. Because I’m a psychiatrist, however, I evaluate patients in precisely the same way that my predecessors did in 1920…” Reading Our Minds: New book issues strong call to action to modernize psychiatry
#4. Very timely effort by Wellcome in the UK: Comprehensive research review identifies most promising interventions to boost workplace mental health
#5. “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, so many people are struggling and seeking mental health support. Wysa is an example of how technology is helping millions of people access everyday mental health support and self-care tools without being gated by a clinical diagnosis.” — Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Executive Vice President at W Health Ventures. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot Wysa raises $5.5M to broaden access to mental health support
#7. Akili Interactive Labs raises $160M in equity and debt to transform cognitive healthcare via prescription videogame treatments. A nice way to celebrate Akili’s 10th anniversary … they are targeting ADHD first (now kids, later teens and adults), to be followed by treatments for a range of cognitive disorders related to depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, “Covid-Fog” and more.
#8. Study: Higher mental wellbeing (in 2016) seen to lower healthcare costs (in 2017). We still have time to invest in public mental wellbeing in 2021.
#9. Teladoc Health, having acquired Livongo and myStrength, launches integrated mental health service for the workplace. “The announcement comes as more than half of people with mental health concerns report that they do not know where to start when getting care, highlighting the importance of the digital front door myStrength Complete will provide…” This is indeed a very common pain point according to our own research, so good to see the quite comprehensive & personalized approach.
#10. Cumulus Neuroscience raises $8.3M to develop EEG-based wireless ‘Fitbit for the brain’ — Fascinating to see the major role of the Dementia Discovery Fund, in a bid to accelerate clinical trials and potential therapies.
#11. Last but not least, a very promising clinical application of psychedelics: Study finds MDMA-assisted therapy to be safe and highly effective to treat severe PTSD. “The Nature authors speculate that MDMA-assisted sessions produce a “window of tolerance,” in which patients are able to revisit traumatic memories, with less shame and anger, and without being overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms.”
Wishing you a healthy Memorial Weekend and month of June,
The SharpBrains Team
The Rise of Big Data Psychiatry (The Wall Street Journal):
As a physician, I need to figure out three things when a new patient walks into my office: what their life is typically like, what has changed that made them seek treatment and what I can do to help them. It’s a complex problem, and most fields of medicine approach it by taking measurements. If I were a cardiologist evaluating a patient’s chest pain, for instance, I would speak with the patient, but then I would listen to their heart and measure their pulse and blood pressure. I might order an electrocardiogram or a cardiac stress test, tools that weren’t available a century ago.
Because I’m a psychiatrist, however, I evaluate patients in precisely the same way that my predecessors did in 1920: I ask them to tell me what’s wrong, and while they’re talking I carefully observe their speech and behavior. But psychiatry has remained largely immune to measurement. At no point in the examination do I gather numerical data about the patient’s life or behavior, even though tools for taking such measurements already exist. In fact, you likely are carrying one around in your pocket right now. Keep reading essay HERE, adapted from the new book Reading Our Minds: The Rise of Big Data Psychiatry by psychiatrist Daniel Barron. [Read more…] about Reading Our Minds: New book issues strong call to action to modernize psychiatry
Click Therapeutics, Inc. (“Click”), a leader in Digital Therapeutics™ solutions as prescription medical treatments, today announced $30 million in debt financing from K2 HealthVentures (K2HV), a healthcare-focused specialty finance company, to accelerate commercialization of its leading smoking cessation solution, Clickotine™, and to advance its pipeline of clinically-validated digital therapeutics [Read more…] about Click Therapeutics raises $30 million in debt to advance commercialization of smoking cessation app Clickotine
Air Force Neurotechnology Partnership Aims to Accelerate Learning (Military Spot):
The Individualized Neural Learning System, or iNeuraLS, is a new augmented learning platform that will enable rapid learning by closed-loop modulation of cognitive states during skill acquisition. Essentially, the AFRL team seeks to develop a capability that will give Airmen the ability to rapidly acquire knowledge and skills on the fly through direct brain interfaces with the help of neurotechnologies…
Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter!
1. Food for (nonpartisan) Thought: Should heads of state and candidates to high office pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test?
2. A school psychologist shares good tips to support our kids and, yes, manage our own stress. Three Ss to reduce the stress of “homeschooling” our kids: Simplify, Structure, Support.
4. Great partnership! Kaiser Permanente offers Calm mental fitness app at no cost to millions of members.
5. “Just as you can’t self-introspect to determine your cholesterol, much of the highest-value information about ourselves and each other sits outside our conscious awareness.” — Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel, as Kernel launches Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS) built on non-invasive brain recording technology.
6. Fascinating conversation on how and why “Practice actually changes the physicality of your brain” — Q&A with Rick Hanson on Neurodharma, brain science, personal practice and well-being
7. May this trend continue (and for better reasons): Growing interest in digital mental health among insurers and medical care providers.
8. Particularly promising for multiple sclerosis, ocular hypertension, diabetes, and traumatic brain injury: Portable brain assessment device by Headsafe secures 510(k) FDA clearance.
10. If not a limerick, perhaps a few brain teasers. Say the months of the year in alphabetical order. Too easy? Well, try doing so backwards, in reverse alphabetical order. Five quick brain teasers to flex those Attention and Working Memory mental muscles
11. You have been invited to a fundraising gala at your old college (via Zoom of course) and decide that this black-tie event demands a super white Italian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wedding. Ready for some quick math? Try this Brain Teaser: What shirt size you need?
Have a great month of June,
The SharpBrains Team