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OptoCeutics Focus Test

By CURVEX ApS

October 2022

Researcher: Thomas Ousterhout, PhD.

Scientific confirmation: Armin Kavousi, Neuroscientist, Msc.

Participants: 1
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Keywords: EEG, Mental Health, Brain Stimulation, Gamma Waves, Focus

ABSTRACT

One new way to activate brain activity is by flashing a certain type of light at 40 Hz, which is specifically designed to synchronize the brain’s gamma waves. Gamma waves are responsible for many things such as working memory and attention. We used a single-channel EEG headset to measure the effect of this flashing and tracked the change in focus levels over time. We found that the device increased focus levels in just 30 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction

Background Literature

Method

Data Analysis

Conclusion

List of Literature

INTRODUCTION

Brain disorders such as depression, dementia, and even migraines affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. This number will increase as the human population’s

average age expectancy continues to increase. Unfortunately, due to the stigma surrounding cognitive disorders, treatment options are minimal, side effects of medication are troublesome, and many people continue to suffer. 

To alleviate this suffering, digital therapeutics are becoming an increasingly popular way to help people. Examples of digital therapeutics include virtual therapy sessions with professionals, mental health apps, and various kinds of technology designed for the specific purpose of helping or activating users’ brains in a certain way.

One way to activate brain activity is through brain stimulation. Brain stimulation can essentially be done in two ways: invasively and non-invasively. Invasive brain stimulation involves surgically implanting an electrode into the brain, as in the case of deep brain stimulation to help those battling depression. Non-invasive brain stimulation includes a number of different techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation, where electrodes placed on the scalp send electrical pulses into the brain to activate certain regions.
However, there are other ways to use technology to stimulate the brain which requires no electrodes at all. OptoCeutics is a digital therapeutics company that specializes in developing medical devices for neurodegenerative and psychological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. They have developed a medical light that is currently in stage 3 of clinical testing. The way it works is by flashing a certain type of light at 40 Hz, which is specifically designed to activate the brain’s gamma waves, which oscillate at the same speed. This is useful since gamma waves are responsible for many things such as working memory and attention.

BACKGROUND LITERATURE

Brain waves, like gamma waves, are electrical impulses that the brain uses to allow neurons to communicate. These impulses are responsible for proving all our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Apart from gamma waves, there are also delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves. Each type oscillates at a different frequency, and the higher their amplitude, the greater the activation. This is important because each type is responsible for different cognitive abilities such as sensation, memory, focus, resting, and sleep.

This is important because different cognitive disorders and diseases cause neurons to fire asynchronously, which results in Brain Network Dysfunction. Gamma waves, which range from 20-50 Hz, are involved in memory and attention, and can be noticeably altered and disrupted due to Alzheimer’s disease. These alterations can be observed years before symptoms appear. 
To test if synchronizing unsynchronized brain rhythms could restore normal functions and, therefore, be used as a treatment method, researchers at MIT exposed mice to a 40 Hz flashing light. The results showed that the mice had improved memory and other beneficial changes. Later, the same was done to Alzheimer’s Disease patients for one hour a day. After 6 months, patients showed an 83% decrease in memory and

cognitive decline, as well as a 61% reduction of brain atrophy and loss of brain volume.

Because of these benefits, OptoCeutics is not only working on using this treatment method to combat Brain Network Dysfunction such as Alzheimer’s Disease, but also other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and adult ADHD. Since their solution can help people with ADHD by activating increased focus levels, we at CURVEX wanted to see if we could measure this effect using our EEG headband.

METHOD

The study design involved only me wearing CURVEX’s single channel (Fp1) EEG headset and using our app’s activity tracker to isolate different activities. The first activity was to measure myself during a 1-minute resting-state baseline, then I did normal office work at my desk for 30 minutes, and then I did another 1-minute resting-state measurement. For the first five days of work, I had the OptoCeutics light turned on and for the following five days I had it turned off.  Below is a picture of myself at my office desk while wearing the CURVEX headset and with the OptoCeutics light turned on.  

DATA ANALYSIS

I compared the average focus percentage of the 1-minute baseline with the 1-minute post-work measurement across both conditions of having the light on and off. With the light on, my average focus level went from 27.8% to 55.6%, and with the light off my average focus level went from 46.5% to 49.5%. This means the light increased my focus by 27.8% while not having the light only increased my focus by 3%. Below is what the results looked like for 1 day’s recording with the light on. The first activity is the 1-minute baseline, the second activity is the 30 minutes of work, and the third activity is the comparison 1-minute at resting state.

Below is a chart of my focus level over time. It remains fixed at around 40% until the last five minutes when it starts to increase. Since OptoCeutics recommends using their device for an hour at a time, the synchronization effect may take about 20-25 minutes to start, and there could have been a larger increase in focus with longer use. 

CONCLUSION

We at CURVEX wanted to corroborate the already existing literature supporting the efficacy of this treatment, and that our headset could be used to measure this effect. This internal study demonstrates that cognitive states can be influenced by non-invasive technology such as various types of light therapy. Activating the brain with light seems to be a very promising method for enhancing and rehabilitating cognitive states such as focus. 

DISCLAIMER AND LIST OF RISK

CURVEX is not intended to be used as a stand-alone therapeutic and is not a substitution for medication. All devices used in studies are considered investigational devices and are limited to investigational use only.

ANY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS?

We’d like to thank OptoCeutics for lending us one of their devices so that we could conduct this study.

LIST OF LITERATURE 

  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/mental-health-neurological-disorders
  2. Delaloye, S., & Holtzheimer, P. E. (2022). Deep brain stimulation in the treatment of depression. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience.
  3. Lefaucheur, J. P., Antal, A., Ayache, S. S., Benninger, D. H., Brunelin, J., Cogiamanian, F., … & Paulus, W. (2017). Evidence-based guidelines on the therapeutic use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Clinical Neurophysiology, 128(1), 56-92.
  4.  https://optoceutics.com/
  5. https://optoceutics.com/alzlight-stage-3-clinical-trial/
  6. https://optoceutics.com/technology/
  7.  Scientific American (1997, Dec 22) What is the function of the various brainwaves?
  8.  Alzforum (2016, Dec 7) Flashy Treatment Synchronizes Neurons, Lowers Aβ in Mice
  9. Jack Jr, C. R., Bennett, D. A., Blennow, K., Carrillo, M. C., Dunn, B., Haeberlein, S. B., … & Silverberg, N. (2018). NIA‐AA research framework: toward a biological definition of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 14(4), 535-562.
  10.  Iaccarino, H. F., Singer, A. C., Martorell, A. J., Rudenko, A., Gao, F., Gillingham, T. Z., … & Tsai, L. H. (2016). Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia. Nature, 540(7632), 230-235.
  11. Businesswire (2021, March 17) Cognito Therapeutics to Advance Digital Therapeutic for Alzheimer’s into Pivotal Studies Based on Positive Clinical Results Announced at AD/PD 2021
  12. https://optoceutics.com/brainwaves/