We are still all excited! After a long time of application and preparation, we finally got the go-ahead for our next big project – biomarkers for depression. Thanks to the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, we are receiving government funding to get a little closer to our vision. But what is it all about?
Mental illnesses like depression have received more and more attention in recent years. Little by little an awareness forms for what used to be an off-limits topic. Especially in times of the corona crisis this topic is more important than ever. Let’s look at the specific figures: every year roughly 28% of the german adult population is affected by a mental illness and this only includes the registered cases.
Our goal is to develop, together with Heilbronn University, an objective method with which psychological symptoms such as depression can be diagnosed more specifically, earlier and more reliably. The magic word here is biomarker. These are measurable indicators that can confirm the presence of a clinical picture. We all know biomarkers from blood tests and laboratory examinations. However, in the case of psychological symptoms, objective measurements are very rarely used.
Already today some doctors use EEG data to support the diagnostic process. However, the evaluation is pretty subjective and requires a lot of practice and measurements that are easy to interpret. Also, this only works well for clear-cut cases. As a result many primary care physicians who often see patients with depression for the first time do not have the necessary equipment and expertise. This is where we come in.
The aim of the project is to develop a diagnostic system that will generate an automatic evaluation based on measured brain waves with the help of learned artificial intelligence. A reduced medical EEG-System is used for this purpose. We offer practices a leasing-model for the equipment on request, because a full-fledged EEG device costs about as much as a mid-range car. The broad availability of our system is a central point in the development.
The automatically generated report is supposed to enable us and our colleagues to intervene sooner and provide better treatment options. Being able to make a diagnosis in the early stages of an illness minimizes the danger of a delayed or incorrect treatment.
Until everything runs as planned, it will still take 2-3 years. But for now the first is done!
If you would like to find out more about EEG and Neurofeedback, you will find a lot of information about these topics on our website.