According to the CDC one in twenty children have ADHD, but lets face it all of us could use some focus. For example, as I am writing this I have glanced over at my cat two to three times (and it’s only the second sentence)!
The current treatments to ADHD (from webMD):
- Amphetamine: Aderoll, Dexedrine, Vyvanse
- Methylphenidate: Focalin, Ritalin, Methylin
- Nonstimulants: Strattera, Intuniv
- Antidepressants: Wellbutrin, Tofranil, Aventyl
- Blood Pressure: Clonidine, Tenex
- Behavioral Therapy
Notice, most of the above are different forms of medication, that’s because it is fairly common for children to be placed on medications as treatment for ADHD.
Now, lets review some of the side effects (from webMD):
- Amphetamine: Loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics
- Methylphenidate: Loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
- Nonstimulants: Sleep problems, anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth. Rarely, liver damage.
- Antidepressants: Sleep problems, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, elevated heart rate.
- Blood Pressure: Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, erratic behavior.
Oh, and the FDA has issued some warnings (from webMD):
The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.
The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.
Clearly, there are some pretty, potentially horrible, side effects. Many never have side effects, but for those that do it can be a difficult experience. Worse yet, both medications and behavioral therapy costs an exorbitant amount of money and require a subscription or referral from a doctor.
What if there was another option?
We developed AlphaBKZ to improve focus and hopefully manage ADHD. We accomplish this by using consumer grade to medical grade EEGs, then apply a technique called neurofeedback.You may have some questions, such as…
What is an EEG?
An EEG is short for “Electroencephalography,” a device used to record electrical activity on the scalp. These electrical activity/signals can come from either muscles or brain activity. Our software is designed to remove muscle activity, leaving the brain signals, which often manifest as neural oscillations or “waves”.
These waves are associated with particular states and are as follows:
- Delta: 1 – 4 Hz
- Theta: 4 – 8 Hz
- Alpha: 8 – 13 Hz
- Beta: 13 – 30 Hz
- Gamma: 30 – 70 Hz
The waves also are associated with particular states. For example, beta waves are associated with active, busy or anxious thinking . Particularly, our software attempts to manage the various waves and train your brain to focus better. We accomplish this using something called…
Essentially, we alter the users interface (i.e. screen), music, video, etc. in an attempt to train the users brain into maintaining particular wave patterns. For example, if a user starts losing attention in a particular website they are reading, we can begin flashing the screen ever so slightly to decrease or increase neural activity. That particular technique is called steady state visually evoked potential, essentially the brain matches the flashing pattern on the screen.
There are indeed other (and better) methods of neurofeedback and indeed, we intend to use them. The basic idea is that the software adjusts based on user input from the EEG data, thereby training the users brain to stay more focused, learn quicker and grow. This may sound like sudo-science, but I assure you, there is plenty of science supporting the method and it is already being used as a treatment for ADHD, anxiety, depression, and more.
Unfortunately, neurofeedback has gotten somewhat of a bad rap, we believe this is due to small studies (4 – 12 individuals) and poor methods (i.e. poor data collection). However, after reviewing recent literature we believe that neurofeedback can definitely be used as a treatment for ADHD, though currently not FDA approved.
In either case, remember that list of super expensive, dangerous drugs and therapy above? Neurofeedback has no known side effects, costs less than other treatments, and should be able to done in the comfort of your own home. Further, the system should be generalized and be able to help a whole array of illnesses and also help the standard users improve focus, learn better, and grow.
If there are other people doing neurofeedback (and there are), why should you use Synaptitude?
Affordability and Ease of Use
We are a fraction of the cost, and can be done in your home. Currently, there are only a few treatment centers using neurofeedback, and unless you are in a large city, there are probably no treatment centers. Even if they are the treatment can cost hundreds to thousands per session, clearly this is no better (price wise) than the treatments above.
Our method uses commercial to medical quality EEGs to provide neurofeedback in your home.
- You send us an order (without a prescription)
- You fill out a survey and wear our headset
- We walk you step-by-step through our methods
- Over the next few months (or longer) we help you improve focus
Because neurofeedback treatment improvements seem to be maintained reasonably well after a six months, we believe our treatments will only need to last four – eight months . However, if you decide you still desire access to our software, games, videos, and more you may continue to use our device.
Our software will work with various EEGs and we will enable individuals to either rent through us, or purchase their own. Users will then pay a monthly subscription fee, for fraction of what regular neurofeedback treatments cost.
Further, we intend to build various games, videos, interactive books, and other applications on-top of our system. Enabling users to find a way to use their EEGs for long term entertainment.
Our system uses the latest neuroscience research, something many neurofeedback systems seem to lack. We use machine learning to help reduce signal noise, computer vision to again reduce noise from muscle movements, as well as several other techniques which we desire to keep close-to-the-chest for now.
Most EEG systems were developed in the 1970s – 1990s, we intend to harness the latest technology and research to further improve accuracy and usability.
Many neurofeedback systems are developed on college campuses, for experimental purposes. This reduces the accessibility to those who need it most and creates an environment where user satisfaction is a secondary to the data. With this in mind, we intend to provide the highest quality service we can, by scaling our business to those who need it most and providing comfortable, easy to use devices.
Our goal is to create the first everyday neuro-controlled system. Allowing others to build applications to integrate with our software, as well as providing application ourselves.
This would enable us to bring improved neuro-controlled systems, devices and data to:
Perhaps other industries we haven’t thought of as well!
We are currently not open for business, however as we are finishing up R&D we hope you will join us, and receive notifications. We will be sending out emails regarding our progress, launch of a Kickstarter, our first beta and special deals!