More than 20,000 elderly brains to be monitored via startup's device

The iBrain device--Courtesy of NeuroVigil

Brain monitoring startup NeuroVigil and the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) are working together to conduct a major survey of the aging brain. It will use NeuroVigil's wearable iBrain device to monitor more than 20,000 seniors.

The iBrain is a single channel electroencephalography (EEG) recording tool. It consists of an elastic head harness and electrodes that attaches to a miniature electronics box. The device has a rechargeable battery for hours of recording, a USB port and days worth of recording storage. It launched in the U.S. in 2009.

The researchers will monitor changes in brain activity induced by aging as well as those from changes in diet, lifestyle and sleep. The data collected via the iBrain is processed by algorithms that converts EEG data into maps of brain activity. The program will be voluntary and will not interfere with medical care.

"We are looking at the biggest living laboratory in the world," John Rios, chairman of ASHA, said in a statement. "We fully expect an initial launch well over 20,000 iBrain units representing a conservative initial market penetration of less than 1%."

The program is intended to help ASHA evaluate its various cognitive enrichment, nutritional and wellness programs.

NeuroVigil CEO Philip Low

Added founder, chairman and CEO of NeuroVigil Dr. Philip Low in a statement, "Enabling seniors to participate in cutting-edge research studies by giving them access to portable and noninvasive neurotechnology to objectively measure changes in brain activity generated by the types of life enrichment programs made available to them, will help shed light on these programs."

The La Jolla, CA-based startup founded in 2007 has impressive management and scientific advisory board rosters. NeuroVigil's Low is a neuroscientist with a faculty appointment at the MIT Media Lab. The company's SAB also includes Stephen Hawking, among other academic luminaries.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct university affiliation fot Dr. Low.

- here is the release

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