We are delighted to appoint Dr. Ben Dunkley as our Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Previously sitting on our Scientific Advisory Board, Ben is an internationally recognised neuroscientist leading a cutting-edge research program to define the ‘invisible injuries’ of the brain, such as concussion and PTSD.
In this Q&A Ben shares his insights into brain health, and delves into the science and motivations behind MYndspan’s brain technology.
How do we currently look at brain health?
Through years of science and technology innovation, we are equipped, more than ever, with multiple ways to take health and wellness into our own hands. Wearable technologies such as smartwatches help people track physical fitness and sleep, mobile applications help measure and track mental health, and online services provide personalized health support.
However, whilst we can seemingly optimize every aspect of our wellbeing, we often neglect brain health – which is reflected in why we think, feel or act the way we do, and how we age. This is where MYndspan comes in.
How can we measure brain health?
The brain works by sending rapid electrochemical signals between neurons that tell your body to move your hand, control your breathing, or feel an emotion.
Using a non-invasive brain scanning technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG), we can measure the electrical signals between neurons and form a detailed map of brain activity and function. Using MEG, we can then identify and observe functional injuries to the brain, such as concussion or PTSD, or conditions like depression and anxiety, which can’t be seen from an MRI image of the brain.
What information does MYndspan provide?
MYndspan’s vision is better brain health for everyone. By using MEG technology, we enable people to track their brain health over time, so they can optimize their own health and recovery.
The MYndspan service consists of a 10 minute MEG scan, which measures underlying brain activity, and a selection of specially designed iPad ‘brain games’ to measure cognitive function. The results are collated into individualized reports that provide a comprehensive overview of brain health and actionable insights – showing not just the output of your brain, but the underlying brain activity that produces it. The MEG scan is passive, non-invasive and painless – and your personal brain health report is ready in a couple of hours.
How does MYndspan benefit people?
At MYndspan we believe that everyone deserves to have answers about what is going on inside their head – in much the same way they might want to understand heart health.
And insights into brain health can be useful. For instance, people who play contact sports often have to make decisions about when to return back to play following a concussion, but they usually do it based on a subjective assessment about how they feel. Having a measure of brain health enables athletes to track their recovery with real data and return to play at the optimum time, limiting further damage to their brain, and their career.
Outside of an injury or illness, MYndspan provides people with data so they can track and optimize their own brain health, with the goal to help identify and treat health issues before symptoms occur, and to provide insights into how lifestyle practices like meditation, mindfulness, exercise or dietary changes can help to improve brain health.
Any other comments?
Poor brain health costs the world $2.5 trillion annually. MYndspan aims to help people understand and optimize their brain health – to extend the healthy lifespan of the mind.
By helping people understand what their brain is doing, and why it’s doing it, we hope to improve awareness and accessibility around brain health – so people can make informed decisions about their lifestyle habits and therapeutic choices, where appropriate.
We’re in the infancy of our journey, but we are determined to deliver a solution that will help everyone have access to better brain health.