Wysa, a popular mental health app originally founded in India around an AI chatbot that helps users talk through their feelings, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round to expand its business on the heels of hitting 4.5 million users in 65 countries.
The all-equity round is led by India’s digital health-focused venture capital fund HealthQuad, with participation also from British International Investment (BII), the U.K.’s development finance institution. The plan will be to use the money to double down on its home market as well as the U.S. and U.K, where it already has respectively had approvals from the FDA and the National Health Service (NHS) and is used by the latter as part of its online mental health services. [Read more…] about Artificial Intelligence (AI) meets Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Wysa raises $20M to scale up mental health chatbot
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring timely brain & mental health news, two excellent new books and a few fun brain teasers.
“The real challenge is not finding a therapist, it’s finding a therapist who knows how to provide the treatments that work. In the early 2000s, Myrna Weissman was trying to understand why so few therapists use scientifically based treatments. She found that over 60 percent of professional schools of psychology and master’s level social work programs did not include any supervised training for any scientifically based therapy … In contrast to evidence-based care, I call this “eminence-based care.” — Dr. Thomas Insel in his excellent new book
“Spain played a unique role in Cajal’s discoveries—that is, in the progression of neuroscience. The country was not a hotbed of scientific research. Lacking mentors, Cajal nearly abandoned his efforts. But working independently may have forged his autonomy and freed him from the influence of traditional theories. He also longed to disprove the stereotypes about Spain. “One could admit that Spain produces some genius artist, such as a long-haired poet or gesticulating dancer of either sex,” Cajal later wrote, “but the idea that a true man of science would emerge from there was considered absurd.” — Fascinating insights into the “father of modern neuroscience”
#3. UT-Dallas BrainHealth presents virtual talks with Alvaro Fernandez and Sanjay Gupta next month (April 21th and 26th; both 8:00 – 9:00 PM EDT/ Miami time)
We believe some of you may be interested 🙂
“After controlling for sex, socioeconomic status, and ADHD symptoms at age 12, the weekly amount video game play reported at age 12 predicted higher levels of self-reported ADHD symptoms at age 13 … The magnitude of the effect was not large, but it was statistically significant. In contrast, higher levels of ADHD symptoms at age 12 did not predict an increase in video game play one year later.”
“Whether we garden, have a view of nature out our window, visit nearby parks, or even just watch a nature video, we can help ourselves deal with the stresses and strains of COVID isolation by giving ourselves and our kids a dose of “Vitamin N.”
Good to see recognized the need for “reimbursement innovation” for emerging digital biomarkers & therapeutics — the FDA does have both sticks and carrots to leverage
“NEAT is a proof-of-concept effort attempting to develop a new tool for mental and behavioral health screening that moves us beyond historical and current methods of questions and consciously filtered responses … If successful, NEAT will not only significantly augment behavioral health screening, but it could also serve as a new way to assess ultimate treatment efficacy, since patients will often tell their clinicians what they think the clinician wants to hear rather than how they are truly feeling.” — Greg Witkop, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office
Would you trust claims in A or B or neither?
Finally, here’s a selection of fun brain teasers that readers have enjoyed the most this year so far:
#9. Where’s the baby?
#11. Want to test your stress level?
#12. Which way is the bus heading?
Wishing you and yours a healthy and stimulating April … and let’s get some Vitamin N (and D) this weekend!
The SharpBrains Team
Veterans go for digital psychotherapy (Healthcare IT News):
“Computerized psychotherapies, or CPTs, hold great interest for veterans receiving outpatient treatment, according to a study published in Telemedicine and e‑Health. The study, relying on information provided by 151 veterans receiving treatment in a Veterans Health Administration substance use disorder outpatient clinic, showed veterans were [Read more…] about Survey: Growing demand for digital psychotherapies to help veterans deal with substance abuse, depression, problem solving and insomnia
Mental health apps let you access therapy from your smartphone (New Scientist):
“Lie down anywhere that suits: the world is now your therapist’s couch. A wide range of apps now deliver mental-health care straight to your smartphone.
With PTSD Coach, users can discreetly screen themselves and learn more about the disorder. Moodnotes keeps track of [Read more…] about Mobile cognitive therapies gain traction as first-line mental health intervention
“In Afghanistan, a new therapist is talking with soldiers. Her name is Ellie, she is the face of a computer program and she could be the key to identifying PTSD in America’s military.