Flow Neuroscience is working with outpatient clinics in London’s Harley Street district in a partnership that will see its brain stimulation headset be offered to patients as an add-on treatment for depression.
The Swedish startup announced this morning that around 10 centres, including the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, would start offering the device in combination with traditional therapy and psychiatrist services, with an additional 10 trialling it.
Flow Neuroscience, which was founded by clinical psychologist Daniel Mansson (CEO) and neuroscientist Erik Rehn (CTO) in 2016, landed $1.5m in funding in a round led by Khosla Ventures in July.
The startup launched its headset, which uses transcranial direct current stimulation, and therapy app for depression in the UK back in June. Priced at £399, it is classified as a Class IIa medical device in Europe, intended for use as a treatment for depression.
Today's announcement follows Flow's recent launch of a mental health chatbot, which provides access to self-help techniques, meditation exercises and others, and can also connect to the device.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 300 million people globally are estimated to be suffering from depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Although effective treatments exist, the WHO says that less than half of those affected receive them.
Earlier this year, researchers noted in a systematic review and network meta-analysis published in the BMJ that there was “evidence for the consideration of non-surgical brain stimulation techniques as alternative or add-on treatments” for patients with major depressive episodes.
But they added: “Our findings also highlight important research priorities in the specialty of brain stimulation, such as the need to conduct further randomised controlled trials for novel treatment protocols.”
ON THE RECORD
“Integrating the Flow brain stimulation headset with the standard practice of treating mental health is of great benefit to the patient but also to the clinician who can now provide an effective and accessible option for the treatment of depression,” Mansson said in a statement.
The CEO added that Flow was also “starting talks” with the UK's NHS to have its headset available on prescription.