Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy – May Be Ready for Prime Time

“A New Way for Therapists to Get inside Heads; Virtual Reality” was published by the New York Times on 7-30-17. This article reports on a new Silicon Valley startup called Limbix, a company that bills itself as providing “modern treatment tools for therapists.” Limbix provides a “treatment dashboard” for therapists that enables them to assign work with their patients between appointments by providing assignments, thought records, guided meditations, and more.  It also provides a mobile app for patients which enables them to access their assignments.

Neurofeedback as treatment for depression: some companies make unsupported claims

“Neurofeedback Could Fight Depression-or Just Empty Your Wallet” was posted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek on 5-18-17. This article discusses the emerging field of “neurofeedback,” which is part of the huge brain-training market. The article discusses one company in particular, Neurocore LLC, based in Florida and owned in part by US Education Sec. Betsy DeVos. This company claims to be able, using advanced EEG technology, to be able to help people “optimize their brains” and to improve cognitive performance, diagnose ADHD, and even to provide “a lasting solution” for depression.

Study finds light from devices to reduce melatonin, affects sleep

Artificial light from digital devices lessens sleep quality: Melatonin skyrockets when blue light is blocked was posted by the ScienceDaily blog on 7-28-17. This article briefly reviews the importance of sleep for various health functions, and summarizes the results for a study that found people using devices in the crucial hours before bedtime to have significantly reduced production of melatonin, by up to 50%!

Not ready for prime time? “Sleep biomarkers” and activity trackers to diagnose mental illness (Mayo Clinic is involved) posted This biotech aims to transform the diagnosis of mental illness. Michael Phelps backs it. Can it really work?  This article reports on an Australian company, Medibio, that claims to have developed an algorithm based on “hundreds” of sleep, hear rate and other biomarkers that can “reliably” be monitored using activity trackers – and that the resulting data can be used to diagnose mental illness. Remarkably , the Mayo Clinic has signed on to help Medibio review its diagnostic tools.

Technology and Therapy: adding heart rate monitoring to video games helps kids with self regulation

“When Children Can Benefit From Playing Video Games” reports on the work by a group of researchers in Boston who have developed video games to help kids with anxiety, anger management problems and ADHD develop more effective self regulation.  Their games are similar to regular video games, but the child is hooked to a heart monitor, which increases the effectiveness of the training.