Medical solutions developer Neurotech International (ASX: NTI) has received an academia-fuelled boost for its ‘Mente Autism’ device, designed to improve cognitive functions in autistic children.
The company said that US clinical trial results had been published by Frontiers in Neurology, one of the world’s leading and most cited medical journals.
In Neurotech’s study, subjects were randomised to an active group receiving neurofeedback using the Mente device and a control group using a sham device. Both groups used the device each morning for 45 minutes over a 12-week trial period without any other clinical interventions. Pre and post standard autism questionnaires, qEEG and posturography were used to measure the effectiveness of the treatment.
Frontiers in Neurology has said it has provisionally accepted the clinical trial article for publication with a final review yet to be completed. The title of the article is: ‘The Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder with Auditory Neurofeedback: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial Using the MENTE Autism Device’.
According to Neurotech, its study and the article involved academic authors from institutions such as the Carrick Institute, the University of Cambridge, the Harvard Macy Institute, the University of Wyoming, the Dubai Medical College, as well as government and private sector organisations such as the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (UK), the Dubai Health Authority and Plasticity Brain Centers (US).
Today’s news partially validates and confirms that Neurotech’s device has a significant impact on children and reduces unwanted delta and theta brainwaves that are abnormally high within autistic children. As a result, the child’s mind is relaxed, facilitating better focus and more positive engagement.
According to Frontiers in Neurology: “Our results show that a short 12-week course of NFB [neurofeedback] using the Mente Autism device can lead to significant changes in brain activity (qEEG), sensorimotor behaviour (posturography), and behaviour (standardized questionnaires) in autistic children.” The publication also said that “similar changes were not detected in the control group.”
“Even though we have only been provided with an abstract, the results of the trial show that using our readily accessible, home-based Mente Autism treatment can have a wide-ranging and beneficial impact on children with autism spectrum disorder,” said Neurotech founder and non-executive director Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan.
The news means that Neurotech could potentially reach a stage where its devices are marketed to millions of autism sufferers – a disorder which is affecting an alarming number of children around the world, especially in developed countries.
In 2014, approximately 1.7% – or one in 59 – of eight-year-old children could be identified as having autism, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. But this and other official estimates have been critiqued for underplaying the true scale of the problem.
Researchers have pointed out alarming rates of autism prevalence in modern societies and have warned of an autism “epidemic”.
Some of the more radical estimates postulate that as soon as 2025, 50% of children born in the US will be diagnosed with autism, says Dr Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
In a series of presentations given to audiences in 2013 including the Wellesley League of Women Voters, Dr Seneff suggested that “toxic substances” such as glyphosate could be partly to blame.
Neurotech’s primary mission is to improve the lives of people with neurological conditions, with a vision of becoming the global leader in home-use and clinical neurotechnology solutions that are both accessible and affordable.
Through its flagship Mente Autism device Neurotech expects to complete development and commercialise technological solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions, starting with autism.
“This continues to validate all the effort that the team has put into the science behind Mente Autism and confirms the positive preliminary findings made at Cambridge in September last year. It is important to remember that this publication remains an independent process administered by the Carrick Institute and now Frontiers, and therefore we don’t have control over the timing of the full publication of the results. We are looking forward to seeing all of the detail when it is made available,” said Wolfgang Storf, CEO of Neurotech International.