ORIGINAL ARTICLE, Josh Scott, betakit.com, October 20, 2022
Backed by decades of research, VoxNeuro aims to bring objectivity to brain health assessments.
Cognitive health assessments are something that a lot of people have experienced, whether you’re a professional athlete or weekend warrior who has suffered a potential brain injury, or an older person showing signs of memory loss.
These brief brain health assessments typically involve a medical professional verbally surveying a patient, asking them to draw a shape or a clock, observing their behaviour, and reaching a determination. As VoxNeuro co-founder and chief science officer John Connolly notes, it’s a “fundamentally subjective” test regularly dramatized in television programs and films.
“After a brain injury of any description … there is always the question that is asked by the physician or healthcare provider, ‘Can he or she hear me? Do they understand what I’m saying?’” Connolly told BetaKit in an interview. “And they still reply, ‘We don’t know.’”
Backed by over 30 years of peer-reviewed research, VoxNeuro hopes to provide an objective answer to that elusive question using software and electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes.
Armed with $4 million CAD in fresh funding, the addition of an experienced healthtech exec in Jason Flowerday at the helm, and new clinical studies in the works with Boston University and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), VoxNeuro has set its sights on commercializing its software and expanding it for use in more targeted applications for concussions and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Hamilton-based healthtech startup launched its Food and Drug Administration-registered and Health Canada-cleared software platform last year. The platform assesses patients’ cognitive function based on EEG data gathered as they complete a series of neuropsychological tests on a computer.
“What John’s research has allowed us to do is to remove any and all of that subjectivity or behavioural bias that’s potentially influencing somebody’s cognitive assessment,” Flowerday, who joined VoxNeuro as CEO in March, told BetaKit in an interview. “We’re not basing it on, did [the patient] draw a good clock, what their family member said about their memory, [we’re] removing all of that … and just using scientifically-based brain biomarkers.”
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