TranQuality, a UK healthcare company specialising in mental wellness, has been awarded an Innovate UK grant (the UK’s innovation agency) to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) capable of identifying depression and anxiety in brain activity. Currently, TranQuality uses cognitive neuroscientists to analyse brain activity captured by an Electro Encephalogram (EEG) but the company believes that AI could take on a significant amount of that work in the future.
Poor mental health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK and one in six people experience a mental health problem each year. The total economic costs of mental illness through lost productivity has been estimated at £105.2 billion each year and treatment accounts for more than 10% of the annual NHS spend.
TranQuality provides mental health assessment and treatment programmes for the NHS and private patients with clinical depression and anxiety as well as companies. For patients, TranQuality uses EEG to identify specific areas for treatment using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS stimulates neurons in the brain through an electromagnetic field that reduces or reverses an individual’s symptoms.
TMS is often used when conventional drug and talking therapies are not working effectively or have stopped working completely. The treatment is approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and is non-invasive, pain-free and has no known side-effects.
The standard TMS approach requires around 20 to 30 sessions, and costs between £4,000-£8,000 per patient, which is limiting its adoption as a mainstream treatment. TranQuality has reduced the cost and number of sessions by targeting the TMS using a patient’s EEG. An AI support tool could further reduce treatment length and cost.
Bernard McMahon, Chairman of TranQuality Solutions Ltd, said: “This Innovate UK funding will allow TranQuality to explore and implement AI technology, which has seen a significant interest in healthcare. This could be a step towards a more personalised treatment of mental health conditions, addressing the mental wellness of each patient individually, which is important as everyone deals with it so differently. Our mission is to support clinician analysis and treatment to reduce its cost to below £1,000 per patient. AI development has started well, and a successful solution would help an EEG targeted TMS become more affordable and accessible across the UK and globally.”