Neuromodulation plus Digital Therapeutics

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Neuromodulation spans all technologies that deliver targeted energy to the nervous system for therapeutic purposes. This includes implanted devices like Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS), as well as non-invasive devices such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS). Neuromodulation can be individualized by programming the stimulator.

Digital Therapeutics spans technologies that rely on web or app-based interfaces to deliver guided audio and video for therapeutic or wellness purposes.  These technologies span FDA regulated treatment such as made by Pear Therapeutics (with its upcoming $1.6 billion SPAC deal), to wellness including for enhanced focus and healthy brain aging. Often the digital therapy is interactive and “gamified”. Increasingly neuromodulation technologies are being integrated with digital therapeutics. The combination of neuromodulattion and digital therapeutics combinations take two forms. One is when patients receive both a neuromodulation and a digital therapy. The second is when neuromodulation is controlled by a digital app that allows patient interfacing.  

Abbott launched in the U.S. launch its NeuroSphere™ Virtual Clinic, a new technology that allows patients to communicate with physicians, optimize programming of their Spinal Cord Stimulation and Deep Brain Stimulation devices and so effectivity download new treatment from their doctor from the comfort of their home. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic is intended to increase access to optimal treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain or movement disorders who don't live close to a care provider, have difficulty accessing care, or are unable to go to the doctor because of circumstances like COVID-19. The system is already being adopted by medical centers

Wise Therapeutics (Wise), a maker of game-based digital therapeutics including and Soterix Medical, a manufacturer of wearable tDCS medical devices, announced the results of a study, published in Frontiers in Neuroergonomics that combined tDCS neuromodulation with a gamified digital therapy. Published results showed that, when used in combination with the neuromodulation technique tDCS, the app-based approach to gamified attention bias modification training (ABMT) reduced self-reported anxiety by 42%. The combination treatment reduced a key cognitive cause of anxiety, negative attention bias, by a significant 260% as well as increasing biological stress resilience.

In a recent review on “Digital Health Integration With Neuromodulation Therapies: The Future of Patient-Centric Innovation in Neuromodulation”, the authors concluded “Digital health can drive patient-centric innovation in neuromodulation by leveraging current tools to identify response predictors and digital biomarkers. Iterative technological evolution has led us to an ideal point to integrate digital health with neuromodulation.” 

More combinations of digital healthcare and neuromodulation seem inevitable in both the medical and wellness space. For example, individualized High-Definition transcranial Alternating Current (HD-tACS) neuromodulation can boost memory in older adults, as can digital healthcare platform. Indeed, large clinical trials combining them are ongoing.

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