Properly focused brain training after a stroke or other neural damage can greatly help patients in recovery. The problem is quickly identifying which therapy works. An Israeli company called ElMindA is using sophisticated EEG analysis algorithms to detect patters of brain activity and compare between readings taken at different times. The company hopes that its technology can potentially offer a qualitative comparison of how a rehabilitative therapy is working.
More about the technology from MIT Tech Review:
The company has developed a novel system that calculates a number of different parameters from EEG data, such as the frequency and amplitude of electrical activity in particular brain areas, the origin of specific signals, and the synchronicity in activity in two different brain areas as patients perform specific tests on a computer. “We usually find patterns of activity which are very unique for the specific state of the patient,” says Amir Geva, founder of the company and head of the biomedical laboratory at Ben-Gurion University.
The researchers are currently characterizing those patterns in the context of stroke therapy. Intensive rehabilitation after stroke can improve speech and motor problems by helping the brain to rewire, compensating for damaged circuits. At present, choosing the best therapy option for a patient is in part a trial-and-error process that can take weeks. But because healing capacity declines over time, it’s imperative to find the most successful treatment as soon as possible after the stroke.
Scientists have also used ElMindA’s system to characterize brain-activity patterns in patients with ADHD, identifying statistical parameters that differ between normal people and those with ADHD. Geva and collaborators aim to use the technology as a more objective way to diagnose the disorder.
A larger clinical trial is about to begin at Harvard Medical School to test the effectiveness of the ElMindA system in diagnosing patients with ADHD and predicting which treatments are most effective. “Many children are getting Ritalin without any objective diagnosis,” says Geva. “And many adults don’t get Ritalin, even though they might be helped by it.”
Side image: Brain activity in a stroke patient before and after two weeks of rehabilitative therapy. The dots represent activity in a specific network within the brain.
More from MIT Technology Review…
Link: ElMindA technology page…