example might include a person with depression who just can’t get out
of a ‘stuck’ negative thought,” said Widge. “Because it is so central to
mental illness, finding a way to improve it could be a powerful new way
to treat those illnesses.”
machine learning algorithm helped the team isolate the patients’
control abilities from their brain activity and their actions.
system can read brain activity, ‘decode’ from that when a patient is
having difficulty, and apply a small burst of electrical stimulation to
the brain to boost them past that difficulty,” Widge said.
analogy I often use is an electric bike,” he added. “When someone’s
pedaling but having difficulty, the bike senses it and augments it.
We’ve made the equivalent of that for human mental function.”
in the trial reported that their anxiety got better once the system
jumped into action, mostly due to the fact that they had more cognitive
control and were able to shift their focus better.
could be a totally new approach in treating mental illness,” Widge
said. “Instead of trying to suppress symptoms, we could give patients a
tool that lets them take control of their own minds.”