The enhancement of human well-being with neurotechnology (On Skype)

Dr. Jay discussed his current research investigating various forms of noninvasive brain stimulation to enhance human well-being, including focused ultrasound and low-level light stimulation. Jay will be presenting at TedTalk on the 26th of Jan, right before the Nepal event.

Scientific literature shows that these neurotechnologies can be used to enhance human well-being in clinical populations, but they also open the possibilities that these technologies could enhance happiness for non-clinical populations

David Gibson is the founder and director of the Sound Healing Center.  He is a leading scholar and researcher in the field of Sound Healing and Therapy.

David has a unique understanding of how sound and music create deep and lasting effects on the mind, body, and spirit. On the transformative tech event, David explained the value of sound healing and how it would affect the person’s mental state. He explained that Sound Healing, through various techniques and technologies, is the educated and conscious use of the energy of sound to reach identified goals and promote wellness in the human system – including the expansion of consciousness. He acknowledged the audience about how various frequencies and vibrations has an impact on person’s brain.

Also, David gave insight on various terms such as chaotic and coherent vibrations, smooth flow, etc., and how it would sink in to cure various mental diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s , Autism, etc., as well as sleep and pain management.

Listening to one’s own root frequency enables an individual to create a more centered and grounded awareness within their life. Sound and music are also used to help with difficult life transitions, including birth and death. The medical community also uses sound and music in a variety of applications such as during surgery to minimize the use of anesthesia, and to break up kidney and gall stones. Doctors are now finding the resonant frequency of organs in order to help vibrate them back into a healthy state. More exciting is cutting-edge research that shows how sound might be used to disintegrate diseases such as cancer.

Pati Pellerito presented to us her experience as a professional in using sound therapy as a healing modality for the last 12 years, though her connection to natural healing goes back to 25 years ago where she began studying massage therapy and acupuncture. 

Pati explained her work with senior care facilities, hospitals, and more recently – schools. With sound therapy proving to be very effective on children with ADD, ADHD, and autism as well as helping project students into an alpha state which is evidently accelerates learning and the retaining information. She also talks a bit about her sound therapy program, offering training in using sounds, approved by the National Certification Board For Massage Therapists. 

Next up was a little tour of her workspace filled with singing bowls and other therapeutic instruments, leading all the way up to the treatment room. Set up with a massage table surrounded by singing bowls designed to connect up to the massage table so that the vibrations travel through the wood floor and conducts onto the table, enveloping the patient with sound and vibrations As the patient lays on the table sounds are introduced, layer by layer to induce a deep state of relaxation. 

“It becomes a total sensory experience.”

The last thing Patti went on to then talk about were the singing bowl orchestras – which she described as a great opportunity for children to step into the present moment but with a fun and meditative experience. 

“I feel like I just want to express how powerful these instruments are and how they are touching the lives of so many, from young children all the way to our aged. And in so many ways”.

Roshan Sriram showed us potential areas of innovation within this new and emerging field of transformative technology with his company works with athletes with his company – Myndscape.

Myndscape is a mind training platform that strives to be able to consistently drive users to their peak performing brain states. Granting athletes an edge over their competitors on the big day.

Roshan began his venture into this technology as he tried to take a step into taking care of his own mental health after being faced with a intense and stressful life at Carnegie Mellon University. He opted for a break where he starting to dive into meditation and mindfulness, eventually leading him to take a trip to India where his exposure of different meditation methods and states grew vastly.

With his background in technology and his new found interests with mindfulness it seemed only logical to combine the two together which lead to the creation of Myndscape.

The concept works off 4 main tools: a portable EEG device, machine learning, neurofeedback systems, and virtual reality. The EEG device maps your brain allowing machine learning algorithms to autolearn patterns and objectively measure progress. Next the neurofeedback systems interact and improve your brain activity in real time and virtual reality provides an immersive environment with auditory guidance from experts to propel users into peak mental performance states.

Serving as the only platform that is both objective data driven and non invasive in its procedures in its pool of competition that includes other companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, Headspace, and Calm.

Dan Brehmer explained the value and role of data within this field of transformative technology.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning have already been able to do so much in the modern world with diagnosing medical conditions better than a team of doctors to playing board games like Chess, Go and Shogi better than any human. And at the root of all this progress and development lies – data. 

On that note, here on the mission to understanding brain states and consciousness, the lack of data acts as a major obstacle – hindering further developments and understanding. Collecting clean EEG data comes with its own list of challenges. Artifacts (undesired alterations in data) created by actions such as blinking or jaw movements often lace EEG data but bring no value in understanding the state of a person’s mind. Ensuring the quality of data becomes difficult with reliable and standardized procedures yet to be defined in this field. And overall sample sizes just being too small to be able to create quality neural networks.

When looking at EEG data we are interested in these two types.

The measurements of the subjects state referring to the raw data received by the sensors of the EEG. And how the data was collected – metadata. Here we look at things like the headset model, the number of sensors, data sampling rate, quality of the procedure, environment conditions, methods of briefing used on the subject and the integrity of the data itself. As all of these factors can pose as extraneous variables that may influence the measurements recorded and thus must be accounted for beforehand.

Additionally, Dan also mentioned other data sources that may be useful in characterizing brain states such as ECG, heart rate variability and self-reported states. All these can bring new perspectives to the EEG data and thus bear fruit to new ideas.

The future of this technology comes without what seems like limitless possibilities. One potential path could be that of similar to the Human Genome Project, by creating a non-profit EEG data repository which may become as crucial to future endeavors as the Gene repository become for the developments in gene editing.

“We really believe this is going to be a powerfully enabling platform for future EEG research and will really help accelerate the discovery and understanding in this space”