High-Tech Method for Improving Mental Health Care
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Ashley was a senior in college when she suddenly started experiencing frequent migraines accompanied by nausea and epileptic-like twitches. “The first time this happened to me, I was so scared,” Ashley says. “I was in the middle of class, and all of a sudden, I couldn’t see. I started slumping like a ragdoll. I couldn’t even tell you my own name.”
Ashley spent the next six years consulting numerous doctors who misdiagnosed her with conditions ranging from epilepsy to PTSD. She was prescribed an array of different drugs, none of which were effective.
“At one point, I was taking about 10 pills a day. I was depressed and hopeless, and it just felt like this was never going to end,” she says.
Ashley then heard about CNS Response, a neuroscience company dedicated to improving mental health care by providing objective patient information that helps doctors bypass the typical trial-and-error process of treating neurological disorders.
CNS Response offers a psychiatric electroencephalography evaluation registry (PEER) that combines crowdsourced data on physician outcomes with electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scans to gauge how patients will react to particular medications before they are prescribed.
“We collect data on people whose brains are malfunctioning in some way, and we know which medications they’re responding to or not responding to,” explains psychiatrist Dr. Mark Schiller. “We put that together and it’s kind of like a dating service. We’re seeing what Ashley’s brain is like and how that compares to 10,000 other people’s brains, and then we can predict what medication she is going to respond to.”
Dr. Schiller adds that studies on PEER show roughly a 65 percent greater response rate than that of standard care.
Although Ashley has yet to receive an official diagnosis, her PEER report showed she likely would respond best to specific medications for anxiety and chronic migraines. Shortly after being put on this new treatment regimen, Ashley started seeing significant improvements.
“I finally feel like me again,” she says.