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Big Data Analysis Platform for Brainwaves in Development

Brain circuits illustration

(HypnoArt, Pixabay)

23 October 2017. Two companies in Northern Ireland, U.K. are creating a technology platform applying big data analytics to a collection of brainwaves generated by mobile games for measuring cognitive health. Data analytics company Kx, in Newry, is establishing the database for analyzing brainwave activity produced by BrainWaveBank, a start-up enterprise in Belfast.

BrainWaveBank plans to offer games to evaluate cognitive health on mobile devices, with brainwaves captured by electroencephalogram, or EEG, detectors in a lightweight, wireless headset. EEG scans use electrodes to measure electrical activity in the brain, and are used to diagnose epilepsy and other neurological disorders. BrainWaveBank says EEG scans in this case record and track cognitive activity while participants engage in the games, which the company says will provide insights into the users’ brain health and performance over time. The games take only a few minutes, and allow for results to be adjusted for external factors, such as medications and sleep.

BrainWaveBank plans to collect data from thousands of individual users to provide cognitive health profiles for various demographic groups and populations. The Kx platform, however, expects to take the analysis further, making it possible to apply artificial intelligence to the collected EEG scans. The companies believe the results from these more intensive analyses will provide greater insights and real-time analytics for individual users, and enable the technology to support demanding applications, such as assessing neurological drugs in clinical trials.

A clinical trial of the BrainWaveBank technology is now enrolling participants. The study is conducted by Queens University Belfast, recruiting healthy individuals age 40 to 79, to test the technology for 12 weeks, with participants also giving feedback in brief questionnaires. The games will be given on mobile tablets, with individuals also wearing a fitness tracker to record general health factors. Participants will be asked to take part in an initial session at the university for memory screens and other cognitive tests, as well as provide an introduction to the BrainWaveBank equipment.

Kx is a division of financial technology company First Derivatives plc in London. The company provides big data analytics for financial services clients, but also for pharma and health care, including analysis of genomic sequencing data.

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