Electric through the brain at home

14 September, 2018

Weak electrical current in the left lobe helps to counteract depression. Soon, patients can manage their own electrical therapy at home on the sofa.

Health tech is the hottest business segment within life science right now. Innovative medcare technology is attracting more and more risk capital. Flow Neuroscience is an example with major US investors.

The company is also part of Health Tech Nordic, a rapidly growing community of pioneers in the area, in which Sahlgrenska Science Park is a very active partner.

At Park Annual 2018, CEO Daniel Månsson described a three-year entrepreneurial trip, which at the end of 2018 could be ready for a product launch.

“We are in the final stages of the regulatory process. Once the regulatory process is over, we will begin a small-scale launch on the UK market, hopefully at the end of this year,” says Daniel Månsson.

With a background in both IT and psychology, Daniel founded Flow, together with neuroscientist Erik Rehn, in 2016. During his time on the psychology program in Lund, he became interested in medical technology methods for treating neuropsychiatric diseases. He began to make as many research connections as he could at various scientific conferences.

To influence the brain in different ways with a weak electrical current is a fast growing area, in which modern research has been conducted since the early 60s. Many research groups around the world see opportunities to treat several different diseases in the brain using weak electricity.

Flow focuses on the treatment of depression, where the electrical stimulation acts as a complement to psychological behavioural therapy in the form of an app where the patient learns how to sleep, eat and exercise in a good way to further reduce depression. The tDCS has been examined in several major studies and has, according to the studies conducted, shown approximately the same results as antidepressant drugs, but with fewer and less serious side effects.

The method is called tDCS (transcranial direct-current stimulation). The catch, up until now, has been that this form of treatment could only be carried out in a hospital, with a doctor present. It has been a relatively complicated process to place the electrodes correctly on the head, to determine the power of the current used and for the patient to travel to the hospital for treatment.

Flow has developed a headset for easy and safe home use. The patient is guided by an app to place the headset in the correct position and can start the treatment him/herself with the electrical current that stimulates the exact part of the brain.

“There is a lot of innovation behind enabling the electrodes to end up in the right place. The app also contains the most up-to-date research on what you can do yourself to reduce depression and to also prevent it from coming back. We believe in a holistic treatment of the disease,” says Daniel Månsson. 

Sahlgrenska Science Park coaches the companies from West Sweden in HealthTech Nordic. Our aim is to contribute to successful startups and new jobs, which is also supported by the EU.

Text: Kenny Genborg