The IT4Anxiety newsletter #1

The IT4Anxiety project has officially been launched !

The IT4Anxiety project was officially launched on the 9th and 10th of March 2020 with a Kick-off meeting held in Amsterdam. It was the opportunity for the 12 partners from North-West  Europe (NWE) to meet and discuss the project. The event was hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam partner in an  inspiring location on the Amsterdam old dock.

The first day started with discussions concerning the Project Management challenges, focussing on how the international team will work together during the next 4 years to deliver the main project outcomes based on their complementary skills and knowledge. The partners leading the Communication actions then presented the highlights of the communication strategy with a special focus on social networks.

This was followed by an interactive session in which the project partners participated in a co-creation workshop. At the end of this productive day, the team enjoyed a dinner in an Indonesian restaurant located in the Java district (formerly known as Eastern docks), well known for its futuristic architecture.

The second day provided the partners with the opportunity to focus on the core activities of the project addressing notably the following activities:

  • Identification of the needs (WP1)
  • Technical piloting and validation of innovative tools (WP2)
  • Implementation of innovative tools and change of culture in the mental health sector (WP3)

Each activity leader presented how they intend to implement the different activities which were then discussed between partners. It was also an opportunity for three start-ups that are already part of the project, KnowsnCo in France, Brainscan and Sentimentics in the Netherlands, to introduce themselves and discuss how they could start collaborating with the different partners.

 

Covid-19 and Anxiety

The global situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic has numerous psychological impacts (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.) on the global population. A study published in The Lancet, on the 26th of February 2020 has analysed 24 studies in the scientific literature concerning previous pandemics in ten countries. It has shown that the duration of the lockdown is a stress factor and that a duration exceeding ten days is predictive of post-traumatic syndromes, of avoidance and anger behaviour. Moreover, a large Chinese survey has revealed that 35% of the population has experienced moderate stress and has identified elderly and isolated people, women and teenagers as the most fragile people.

In this particular context, vulnerable people as well as the entire population is concerned. The needs for mental health care are increasing and new technologies will contribute to effectively responding to the health care needs. For example, the use for teleconsultation has already increased considerably in many countries. The objectives of the IT4Anxiety project will attempt to answer to the current public health challenges.

 

Presentation of Start-ups !

The BrainScan® product is a diagnostic tool which allows to detect at an early stage major depressive disorder and anxiety (MDD) through urine and blood samples. Early diagnosis and treatment of MDD will lead major benefits: the patients’ quality of life is increased, and the direct and indirect societal costs will be reduced. Non-psychiatric physicians appear to timely and adequately diagnose MDD in only 1 out of 3 cases! Brainscan BV is the first to introduce a laboratory based multi-analyte test for MDD. The unique algorithm developed by Brainscan confirmed their choice to include urine as testing body fluid in addition to blood. A simple diagnosis of MDD using a complex set of biomarkers is made possible. Between 2018 and 2020, Brainscan BV conducted two clinical studies which provided the proof of concept of the MDD diagnosis. Brainscan BV and its academic partners are in the frontline of developing a diagnostic biomarker panel for MDD. Brainscan BV is now starting to develop the product BrainScan® including the legal compulsory CE-mark. The InterReg project IT4Anxiety supports Brainscan in the product development by testing it in the Primary Health Care setting. Tests are needed to set the biomarker panel to be used within the Primary Health Care environment and to validate the final product (after which the CE marking will be finalised and the product will be launched in the market).

Carduso Capital BV and an Innovation Credit from the Dutch ministry of economic affairs are investing in Brainscan BV. The project IT4Anxiety adds to this process by contributing to the product development through the tests. Today, since the costs for product development have increased, Brainscan is looking for a second investor.

In-Spir is an expert in the creation of fragrances aiming at improving the well-being and reducing anxiety of health professionals and employees.

They reinvent the working experience and the workspaces and help companies and health care institutions to enhance their image and quality of services through the olfactive sense.

They design, develop and produce their technology in France.

Their perfume diffusers are made with bio sourced and biodegradable materials, to respect the environment.

Their diffusers are smart devices: they can control remotely the power, the diffused perfume, the diffusion programme… and create a customized diffusion according to the area.

The perfumes are 100% natural and biological. They are produced by French laboratories and tested by the Emotional Odor Scale, a protocol created by research institution (CNRS).

In-Spir is involved in the IT4ANXIETY project to share their tools and work with the partners to develop protocols and improve the research in neurology, psychology and anxiety on patients and health personal. Moreover, in the framework of the IT4Anxiety project, In-Spir will realize some tests aiming at measuring the impact of the perfume diffusion on the patients’ stress (through for example the measurement of stress biomarkers in the patients’ saliva).

 

IT4Anxiety Agenda

5th – 8th November 2020 : KIKK Festival – The 10th Edition of the Festival of Digital Culture at Namur, Belgium

For more information: https://galaxy.kikk.be/fr/projets/kikkfestival

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