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
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
Between Thought and Expression (Cerebrum):
Greg Dunn was on his way to a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania when he realized that bringing the brain’s beauty to life was a more suitable role for him than lab work. He started in ink, inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean paintings and the similarities he found in the microscopic world of neurons and the macroscopic world of trees, flowers, and other landscape images. [Read more…] about Let’s welcome Mental Health Month (May) by appreciating our beautiful brains
Mental Health Apps Aren’t All As Private As You May Think (Consumer Reports):
Type “mental health” or a condition such as anxiety or depression into an app store search bar, and you can end up scrolling through endless screens of options. As a recent Consumer Reports investigation has found, these apps take widely varied approaches to helping people handle psychological challenges—and they are just as varied in how they handle the privacy of their users. [Read more…] about Consumer Reports finds unclear, questionable privacy practices and policies among popular mental health apps
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
Using specific frequencies of flashing lights and sounds to stimulate the brain’s electrical activity, Cognito Therapeutics believes it can help treat Alzheimer’s disease by energizing neurons and reactivating the immune system.