The US Patent Office has issued a comprehensive patent to Posit Science for inventions utilizing brain training software to address depression, mood and anxiety disorders. It is believed to be the first patent of its kind.
Brain training has recently emerged as a new pathway for treating neurological disorders by harnessing the brain’s plasticity – its natural ability to change chemically, structurally and functionally.
The Posit Science team includes many pioneers in applied brain plasticity research. Its global team is led by Dr. Michael Merzenich, who has been elected to both the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine for his work – most notably, discovering lifelong plasticity and harnessing it to improve the human condition.
“While there has been a lot of talk of digitized medicine, mostly that has meant using software for medical diagnostics and enhanced reporting,” observed Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science. “This invention is a significant step forward in also thinking of software as a therapeutic – truly as medicine.”
“We expect this will be especially important in addressing neurological and psychiatric conditions,” Dr. Mahncke added. “While the pipeline of new drugs for these conditions looks unlikely to deliver the breakthrough treatments that patients need, studies increasingly show the promise of plasticity-based brain training.”
Drug therapies typically work by flooding the brain with a molecule that alters the action of a single, specific neurochemical pathway at all times. This approach is not very selective – it does not harness the brain’s natural processes to produce the right amount of the right brain chemicals at the right time.
Plasticity-based brain training is designed to take a very different approach, by exercising the machinery known to stimulate the production of brain chemicals, in an effort to engage systems to produce chemicals on demand, in the instant when they are required.
There are now more than 60 peer-reviewed medical and science journal articles on the benefits of Posit Science exercises and assessments in varied clinical populations, including in the areas of brain injury (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, chemobrain, cardiobrain, HIV); mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar, ADHD, addiction); and neurodegenerative disease (mild cognitive impairment, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis).
Posit Science is the maker of BrainHQ, a commercially available brain-training program shown to improve standard measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory) and real world activities (e.g., gait, balance, driving) in healthy adults. As its research advances in clinical indications, Posit Science plans to approach appropriate regulatory agencies to explore the shortest path to getting a form of relevant exercises into the hands of patients who may be helped.