Genetic engineering and biotechnology, once the subject of science fiction works, is increasingly moving towards reality. Just take a look at the biotech startups list in Crunchbase, and you’ll see what I mean.
23 and Me enables anyone to have their DNA analyzed for diseases. On one hand, being able to predict medical issues can save lives. On the other hand, just like the movie GATTACA, it’s now possible to segment people and influence their futures based on their genetic fitness. If someone told you today that you would have cancer in ten years, or that your child might be born with Down Syndrome, how would you live?
Brain injuries are one of the worst things to happen to anyone. Even with the advances in medical care, diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are still incurable. Mental illnesses such as depression and general mood disorders are controlled through trial and error, rather than precise treatment. A 2010 survey by the U.S. Citizens for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that traumatic brain injuries affect over 5 million patients and costs the US approximately $56 billion per year.
Enter the startup EIMindA, a company which helps doctors and researchers truly understand the way each patient brain works. Currently, brain injuries and disorders are treated using questionnaires, computerized behavioral tests, and indirect measurements such as metabolic activity. All these tests are limited because they only provide relatively basic information to the physicians. These weaknesses carry over to the pharmaceutical industry where clinical trials don’t provide direct information on how medications may or entirely do affect brain activity.
EIMindA builds on existing medical tools such as EEG scans, and adds additional data gathering and analysis capabilities. As a whole, ElMindA’s BNA technology measures and displays the neural activity of a brain associated with its cognitive functions. Their algorithms identify and track signals and patterns in the brain and then allow the projection of all the data points in three dimensional format to help physicians profile general functionality, assess changes in functionality / dysfunctionality and track cognitive progression and general response to any therapy being applied to the subject.
In some ways, the concept is very similar to what BioDigital is trying to facilitate with their recently released API for the human body.
After the software pulls the information into a secure cloud database, medical professionals can view the data for each individual patient. Rather than having to manually sift through troves of data, the EIMindA software shows qualitative and quantitative data as graphs, score tables and brain maps.
The key benefit of the software seems to be that it enables clinicians to more effectively track brain changes. Whether it’s monitoring disease progression or the effectiveness of treatment, medical professionals now have a digital dashboard to help them make sense of the information and activity. Additionally, the secure cloud enables clinicians to access information as it’s needed, and even collaborate with colleagues in real time.
Does the technology “work”? It’s hard to say since the EIMindA website is written with an emphasis on hypothetical rather than actual results – which is understandable since biotech companies are a bit more complex than apps that hail a taxi. That being said, the technology is cleared by the FDA and is compliant with numerous industry regulations. It’s been used in academic studies, and the company is among 15 Nobel Prize Laureates invited to present at first ever World Science Conference in Jerusalem.
There’s no arguing that there’s a need for EIMindA . The wildcard here is how the technology is applied.
Just last month ElMindA raised $28 million in Series C Financing that will be used to both advance their technology and strengthen commercial and clinical adoption.
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