Updated on 15 December 2014
Once considered a rare disorder, Alzheimer's disease is, now, the sixth leading cause of death across the globe and despite many medical advancements, researchers are still not able to crack open the biologics of the disease, or cure or reverse its effects. With very few approved medicines, Alzheimer's is becoming a global crisis.
For years, understanding the biology and disease progression of Alzheimer's was a major challenge. Currently there are only five approved medications that are being used to treat the disease. These medicines can only improve memory and thinking but do not offer complete cure. With many people falling prey to the disorder every year, scientists are brainstorming on newer therapies and studying genetic aspects that predispose a person to Alzheimer's. One such initiative is Ybrain, a Korean start-up that aims to fix neurodegenerative brain disorders through their novel product, codenamed the ‘Y-band'.
Founded in 2013, by ex-Google and Samsung engineers, Ybrain aims to resolve some of the major un-met global healthcare challenges through digital health platforms. The company is proud of its unique wearable brain device that uses noninvasive stimulation techniques to manage brain diseases. Describing the technology, Mr Suengyeon Kim, COO and co-founder, Y brain said, "We have applied the principles of neuromodulation to develop the world's first wearable device for the brain, which can help alleviate and treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI)."
Human behavior, memory, learning, and emotions are handled by the frontal lobe of the brain. Problems with the brain involve damage to the frontal lobe and/or parts related to it. So far, brain science has treated or improved a damaged brain by surgically implanting electrodes deep into the brain and electrically stimulating the problematic area. Mr Kim stated, "The last one to two years have seen the advent of brain science technology that stimulates a certain part of the brain by making minute currents flow on the scalp. It was not originally developed to deal with disease, but instead, to apply in entertainment including computer games. Ybrain's technology is innovative as it allows minute currents to flow outside the head, and travel through brain networks to finally reach and stimulate the target areas and improve their function."
Mr Kim further explained, "Yband increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, thereby decreasing beta-amyloid and ultimately reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Put differently, the anodic electrical stimulation delivered through the Yband activates brain cells, helps regenerate neurons, facilitates the formation of synapses associated with memory, and thereby helps the brain function better."