Harvard Professor Unveils App to Treat Depression

Following 15 years of research on depression at Harvard University, psychiatrist Diego Pizzagalli has created an app that he hopes will become the first software-based treatment option for depression.

The idea began in 2001, when Pizzagalli published research that correlated brain activity in a certain area with the effectiveness of the antidepressant the patient was taking: the more brain activity, the more effective the medication. He then began experimenting with alternative ways of increasing brain activity in the same key area. Snap decision making proved to do the trick. When forced to make a snap decision, research subjects showed heightened brain activity in precisely the same areas that Pizzagalli was looking to target.

This discovery led Pizzagalli outside the walls of Harvard to Baltimore-based incubator Canterbury Road, which provided app developers, a business plan, and supporting business executives to turn the idea into a series of games.

The new company, launched this week, is called BrainTracer, and its flagship product, MoodTune, is an app that aims to exercise the key parts of the brain that correlate to effective depressive treatment. The app is currently undergoing trial testing in support of an NIH grant application and plans to enter the general market by the end of this spring.

↑ Back to top

Founding Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors