As the world becomes increasingly connected and informed every day, we learn more about how our brains function. In recent years, there have been strides in detecting the cause behind certain conditions, such as ADHD, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain is a complex organ, and conditions that suggest a defect in how the brain operates — such as dementia — can be equally complex to treat. Many practitioners rely heavily on pharmaceuticals to help bridge gaps in the synapses, increase neurotransmitters, or target dopamine receptors, but for all the benefits of some medications, there are some equally important side effects to consider.
Innovators and scientists have worked hard to develop non-medicinal approaches to brain health. Now, a new technology called Squirrel Tamber by WeVibin Inc has emerged to help the brain self-heal without pharmaceutical intervention. The technology is the “brainchild” of Stefanie Lattner, former head of technology research at Respironics and the holder of over 85 patents related to brain health. The research-driven and potentially life-changing innovation Lattner has developed seeks to help patients decrease impulsive behavior, reduce anxiety, and increase auditory and visual attention.
“For an adult, ADD (and other conditions) can affect one’s life in real and consequential ways, including frequent job loss, substance abuse, car accidents, and damaged relationships. However, new research into the neuropathways continues to emerge and bring hope,” Lattner explained to Advancements with Ted Danson.
Lattner and her team are working from the perspective that all brains are wired differently and require varied approaches for optimum brain health. She has developed her program to diversify the medical approach to brain health past pharmaceutical intervention.
A personal connection
Lattner has always been interested in studying brain health, and it is an interest born from personal experience. Her brother grappled with neurological challenges, and she watched him suffer through the medicinal interventions without much improvement.
“Treatment was predominantly delivered via incredibly strong medications that left him incapacitated and sleepy,” Lattner recalls. “As family members, we were left with little to no information. Throughout his life, the medication certainly helped his most severe symptoms, but not without terrible costs in terms of side effects and quality of life.”
Lattner recognized that she and her family members felt isolated and unsupported as they tried to help her brother. While attending medical conferences, Lattner realized that much of the research and innovative thinking regarding neurological conditions wasn’t reaching practitioners, who were still holding fast to old ways of treating the brain. As a result, she became determined to tap into the best options for cognitive performance, brain health, and treating neurological challenges, and bring those options to the mainstream.
Affecting specific feedback loop
Through two approaches — the Squirrel Chaser app and the Squirrel Tamer headset — Lattner’s program works by affecting the feedback loops that we all have in our brains, which affect focus and attention. Sometimes, however, these loop can go haywire.
Lattner’s innovative new app works by helping people better understand how their brains work, and guides them toward choosing the right strategies for the best neurological health. The headset she designed is a device that uses vibrations to encourage healthy feedback loops, thereby helping the brain heal.
“This new way to address an old problem enables treatment without stigma, in a safe and clinically relevant manner,” says Lattner, whose app provides a way to test the brain’s cognitive performance, and allows people to discover what interventions work best for their unique brain. Even if people are not diagnosed with a neurological condition, they can still benefit from improvements in focus, reflexes, and cognitive performance at school, work, or during other activities.
Through her own experience, Lattner has found that many doctors ask patients how they feel about their level of focus or school performance, but are not truly measuring factors like attention meaningfully. “People are terrible ‘self-reporters’,” she explains.
As an example, she points to people who have had a few drinks, yet still say they are fine to drive or self-report that they are not slurring their words and stumbling around, despite this obviously being untrue to others who witness their behavior. According to Lattner, the way we may see ourselves can differ wildly from how our brain actually behaves.
“With our new application, users can test a wide variety of habits and track how each affects their brains so they can see what works best for them,” Lattner adds. “By adopting whatever habits are most advantageous for you, you can also train your brain naturally.”
The headset Lattner and her team designed has already proven effective in clinical trials, drastically improving cognitive performance for those who put the device through its paces. Those who tested the device found they received hours of benefit from just 20 to 30 minutes of use, and because the headset is a technological approach — not medicinal — there are no side effects or harmful drug interactions.
Lattner’s applications not only target problems with focus, but also a variety of neurological conditions. These can include Parkinson’s disease, autism, and concussions/traumatic brain injury, as well as diminished brain function due to aging.
Healing the brain
Lattner and her team are laser-focused on making a difference in the lives of patients, whether they are simply looking to gain better insight into how their brains function or are seeking life-changing treatment for neurological conditions.
“Pharmaceutical commercials have led us to believe that the only way to influence neuropathways and chemical release in the brain is by administering chemical solutions,” Lattner says, rejecting the notion that there is only one way to heal the brain and gain better attention, focus, and overall health. “The simple example of a ‘runner’s high’ and the release of endorphins shows us there are other mechanisms that can physically and safely affect our brain,” she adds, exemplifying other non-medicinal factors that clearly affect brain health, such as sleep patterns, diet, and lifestyle choices.
Through extensive research, years of study, and personal experience, Lattner has landed on what she believes is the next generation in neurological treatment. The groundbreaking solutions she has developed alongside her team are sure to garner the attention of the medical field and offer new solutions to those seeking better insight into how their brains function — and how they can be healed.