Cure for depression? New headset simulates the brain to help treat mental health

Flow Neuroscience launched the Flow Headset which will help tackle the growing mental health crisis around the world. In the UK alone, 19.7 percent of people aged 16 and over showed symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to statistics from 2014, up 1.5 percent from the previous year.

Mental health issues are slowly creeping more into the global agenda, with alternative therapies being offered.

Neuroscientists have now launched a headset which could help tackle the ongoing issues.

The Flow Headset works by sending small electrical signals to the brain, known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), simulating neurons in the left frontal cortex of the brain.

In a clinical study conducted in 2017 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 24 percent of patients using tDCS, similar to the brain stimulation used in the Flow headset, were measured on clinically validated scales which showed that they were cured from that episode of depression.

Some 41 percent of people found at least half of their symptoms were gone within six weeks when using the headset.

Daniel Mansson, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Flow, said: “Flow was created with a team of the world’s most prominent researchers in the field of psychiatry and brain stimulation.

“Flow is a drug-free treatment for depression. It comprises a home brain stimulation headset and is the EU’s and UK’s first (and only) medically approved treatment of its type.

“People with depression often have a lower neural activity in the brain region that controls emotional expression and certain cognitive skills.

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“The Flow headset uses a mild electrical signal to stimulate and rebalance activity in this area. Randomised controlled trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that this type of brain stimulation had a similar impact to antidepressants, but with fewer and less-severe side effects.

“In the largest study to date 24 percent of patients completely overcame their depression, while 41 percent found that at least half of their symptoms disappeared after 6 weeks.

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Air pollution is wreaking havoc on our primitively strong sense of smell, which has been linked to an uprise in depression and anxiety.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston in 2017, Professor Amanda Melin, of Calgary University said: “We’re inside, we’re in fake lighting, we’re not spending as much time outside in the context in which our vision system evolved.

“And our lighting, as well as other things like near work tasks, might be drastically affecting our acuity.

“What we need to do is we need to get outside more in order for our eyeball to grow properly and for us to have the right proportions so that the images are really clearly in focus on the retina.”



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