Smart headbands ready to fight depression within the comforts of home
While technology is constantly upgrading in the health care sector, mental health has not received equal favor so far. With the onset of portable technology, a large number of health care services are now available at fingertips.
Almost every chronic disease has successfully come under the radar of such advanced technology, except mental disorders. Apparently, the sensitive and unique nature of mental health services often becomes a hindrance in developing such a technology that can successfully measure the outcomes and simultaneously intervene.
Given the recent increase in awareness towards mental health issues, a few companies are coming forward to fill the gap by conducting advanced research and development (R&D) creating innovative solutions for both patients and medical practitioners.
Foray of a headband that can cure depression
A team of three engineers from Ybrain, a South Korean start-up, has developed a headband called Mindd to treat depression. Expected to be launched in the United State in 2019, Mindd is set to join the ranks of other wearable health-related devices in this innovative segment, such as Upright Go, ReSound ENZ02 and Medical Tricorder.
At the backdrop of this innovation are the alarming statistics concerning suicide rates in South Korea. This device was developed to arrest low treatment measures in mental health domain due to the increased social stigma surrounding mental illness. Considering the fact that suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S., the foray of Mindd in the American health care can prove a blessing for many.
As this device weighs just 150 grams and powered by a 9-volt battery, it can be comfortably used within the comforts of home. Since it is connected to an app, one can monitor their activity and sleep patterns on a regular basis. Though currently available in the hospitals of South Korea, the manufacturers aims to provide its accessibility to everyone. The clinical trials of this headband is underway at Harvard Medical School.
Way Mind works
The brain’s frontal lobe is known to be the epicenter for depression that triggers depressive symptoms due to decrease in its activity. Mindd delivers small electrical impulses to the brain’s frontal lobe via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate the area so that depression decreases.
As the electrical impulses pass through the head, users start to feel a tingling sensation. Electrodes are placed at the specific locations on the scalp to channelize the current to the frontal lobe and a saline-soaked absorbent pad is placed on the user’s forehead to enable the conduction of electricity. About 20 percent of the electrical waves generated by the device reach the brain.
The Mindd headband can be used from a smartphone application in which patients are able to feed data regarding their sleep patterns, exercise and medical treatment. Interestingly, the treating doctor can access all these details for monitoring and subsequently changing and improving the treatment regimen.
Doctors can program the headband to release the milliamps as required for the treatment. This device addresses the issue of social stigma by allowing patients to take treatment discreetly in the privacy of their homes. Moreover, it does away with the reliance on the subjective memory of patients and instead depends on the real-time data fed into the device that can improve the quality of treatment.
Act before it is too late
Ybrain is set to roll out the headband in 70 Korean hospitals this year to reach thousands of patients with clinical depression. It also intends to use data from all the patients to prepare the device for the European and American markets. The ultimate dream of the company is to see it being used by patients from the comfort of their home.
The company has also tied up with Harvard Medical School to conduct research using the headband on 500 participants. The smart headband can help patients to avoid expensive antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, Lexapro and Zoloft, which cause numerous side effects.
Depression is a very serious mental illness that needs an immediate intervention. If a person under depression is not treated soon enough, there is a grave risk of him or her committing suicide. If you or your loved one is showing any signs of depression, contact the Arizona Depression Helpline to locate the best depression rehab centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-233-3895 or chat online to get details about the depression treatment options in Arizona.