A new neural implant that is placed outside the skull to treat depression has been revealed.
Inner Cosmos, a neurotechnology company founded by entrepreneur Meron Gribetz, announced the tiny implant, which the company “a digital pill for the mind,” on Tuesday. Hundreds of millions of people across the world suffer from chronic depression, a number exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.
“Our mission is to create a world that restores humanity’s cognitive power by rebalancing the human mind,” Gribetz stated. “The world is in a state of severe disorder, leading to a disordered cognition. The effects are being felt by millions, leading to surging levels of depression. We believe our approach can allay the lives of those suffering from depression, and eventually scale to other cognitive disorders.”
The implant, roughly the size of a fingernail, is implanted under the skin, next to the skull. A small “prescription pod” which powers the implant snaps onto the patient’s hair. A psychiatrist, who does not need to be close by, then monitors the device to adjust it based on the patient’s needs. Inner Cosmos recently received FDA Investigational Device Exemption approval so it can conduct a human study, Forbes reported.
The surgery to implant the device takes 30 minutes in an outpatient facility, The Daily Mail noted.
“There’s 140 million Americans every year that use attention or depression drugs, that’s more users than have iPhones,” Gribetz said at a tech conference last year. “Antidepressants are the most widely prescribed solution for depression. And they blast your entire brain with neurotransmitters.
“You end up with severe side effects such as suicidality when we switch cocktails, mental fog fatigue, libido loss, and of course, the efficacy is just over placebo. So it’s very, very low,” he added.
That was when he said he started thinking of an alternative treatment.
“We started thinking,” he said. “How is it possible that for the largest disorder in the world, we’re using horse and buggy era technology, and we win, there’s Tesla’s driving around. So we decided, why not create the Tesla of the mind, if you will, the absolute most modern and precise brain computer interface ever created for depression. And that’s exactly what we have done.”
He believes the technology will help doctors more accurately diagnose what ails their patients.