Image source: Flow Neuroscience

London’s Harley Street clinics to treat depression with brain stimulation headset

A new treatment for depression, which involves patients wearing the Flow Neuroscience brain stimulation headset, is being offered by outpatient clinics in London’s Harley Street.

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Many people are affected by depression but there is still a stigma surrounding the condition. Statistics show that mental illness has been on the rise since the early 1990s. It is estimated there are 3 million UK citizens battling with depression and some 300 million world-wide. Just in the last ten years anti-depressant prescriptions in the UK have nearly doubled. However, there’s a better solution to becoming a nation of pill-poppers!

The Swedish startup launched Flow in the UK in June this year. It consists of a clinical-grade brain stimulation headset and accompanying iOS and Android therapy app.

new treatment for depression involves patients wearing brain stimulation headset 2 - London's Harley Street clinics to treat depression with brain stimulation headset
Image source: Flow Neuroscience

The type of brain stimulation used by the headset has been shown in clinical studies, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, to have a similar impact to antidepressants. The important difference is there are fewer and less-severe side effects.

The thing works by applying transcranial direct current stimulation to activate neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls cognitive skills and emotional expression. People with depression typically have a lower activity in this region.

Today’s announcement reveals the headset is being made available to patients in the Chelsea Psychology Clinic in London. An additional 10 Harley Street clinics are trialling the technology with the aim to offer it as a treatment in conjunction with more traditional therapy for depression.

“We pride ourselves on treating mental health conditions in an integrated, therapeutic approach.” Dr Elena Touroni, Consultant Psychologist and Clinical Director at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, said.

“With Flow’s brain stimulation headset our highly respected experts now have a new tool to treat depression and help patients overcome their mental health challenges.”

The gadget is designed to help people with mild to moderate depression. Although it is certified as a medical device, you don’t need a prescription to purchase it. Flow Neuroscience has secured the approval from European regulators (Class IIa medical device) and is hoping to get the stamp of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the near future.

Flow retails at £399 and can be purchased at flowneuroscience.com. There’s also a pay-as-you go option that works out to £34 per month.

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