Below is our recent interview with Dr Jason McKeown, CEO of Neurovalens:
Q: What is Neurovalens?
A: Neurovalens is a health-tech company based in Northern Ireland, which creates non-invasive neurostimulation products with the mission to improve global health and wellness using drug-free neurological solutions. Some of the key health problems that our passionate and talented team are dedicated to improving include; weight, sleep and anxiety.
Q: Who started the company?
A: Me, driven by my combined passion for helping others, neuroscience and being a bit of a tech geek. I went from holding various neuro and emergency medicine roles in Northern Ireland and Scotland to starting Neurovalens at just 26 years old. It was during my time as a hospital doctor that Dr. VS Ramachandran, who is primarily known for his work as a neuroscientist, invited me to the University of California, San Diego to study neuroscience and neuromodulation. This is still a career highlight for me.
Q: Why was the company started?
A: During my time at the University of California, San Diego I focused on neurostimulation and how it can be used to treat neurological issues. Through studying this I realised the enormous potential of developing non-invasive neurostimulation and the incredible impact it could have on the lives of billions of people across the world and so I started Neurovalens to achieve this goal.
Recommended: An Interview With Patrick Henry – Former Entropic CEOQ: Tell us about Modius.
A: Modius was the first product that Neurovalens launched in August 2017 and it was also the first in its category to introduce wearable (i.e. non-invasive) neurotechnology to help make weight loss easier.
Modius works by sending a safe low-level pulse into the brain which targets the area responsible for your desire for food by reducing your appetite and cravings, the user simply needs to eat less.
The headset is a safe, non-invasive, general wellness device that has the potential to help billions of people reach their weight loss goals. The results we have seen from Modius align with over 50 years of evidence demonstrating that vestibular stimulation can cause a significant reduction in body weight.
Q: Who is your target market?
A: With Modius we are targeting anyone who is struggling to lose weight through traditional methods, such as calories in calories out. The western world, in particular, has well-documented issues with over-consumption and we are seeing early evidence of a slight female bias, but really Modius is for anyone who wants to lose a few kilos and keep it off.
In the long term, our aim is to provide prescription medical devices into the healthcare space such as the NHS or health insurance providers in the US.
Q: How many people are using Modius?
A: As of May 2019, we have a total of almost ten thousand Modius users with almost half a million user sessions recorded to date.
Q: Is Modius working?
A: In short, yes, we are delighted with the ongoing statistics we receive directly from our users and the very encouraging weight loss trends we are noticing.
As of May 2019, our stats show that after ten weeks the average loss is approximately nine pounds and the top user has managed to lose a hugely impressive 98lbs (approx. seven stone). Our data also shows that our top 100 users have lost 44lbs on average each (approx. three stone).
We also have great testimonials from users who have struggled with their weight all their lives but are seeing a noticeable difference in their cravings. Some also report improvement in their sleep in addition to losing weight.
Q: What is the greatest challenge to people losing weight?
A: There is no doubt that losing weight is difficult for most people, and keeping it off is even harder – a one size fits all approach to weight loss simply does not work.
I think people can be determined to make lifestyle changes initially but find it hard to maintain these long term. Neurologically speaking, each person’s brain fights to maintain a predetermined weight range, where it believes the body will function at an optimal level. If you go above or below this predetermined weight range, your brain will push your body to settle back into this range, even if this is not what you want.
When you lose weight, therefore, your brain leaps into defense mode and modifies hormones to compensate, making it harder to reach your target weight. This includes decreasing hunger hormones such as leptin in your body which make your hunger cravings intense and hard to endure.
Q: Are you working on any other health tech devices within Neurovalens?
A: Yes. Our first device Modius is considered to be a wellness device by the FDA in regards to weight-loss but, for us, this is just the first step. We’re also running ongoing clinical trials with the aim of being approved as a medical device, useable by those seeking substantial weight-loss and prescribable by medical professionals. Beyond this, we see opportunities for non-invasive neuro-stimulation to positively affect a whole range of global health challenges.