On this week’s Wellness Wednesday, we spoke to Amir Bozorgzadeh about his company, Virtuleap. Bozorgzadeh discussed how the app helps train your cognitive function by offering daily cognitive workouts.
Virtuleap is an award-winning start-up that’s focused on addressing cognitive illnesses, disorders, and learning challenges using virtual reality and augmented reality. Bozorgzadeh, the founder of Virtuleap, wanted to go into the virtual reality space because of his own vertigo, and his fear of heights, which is something he could do with virtual reality (VR).
Bozorgzadeh gained so much knowledge from all the spaces he was exposed to that he wanted to create VR that could unlock neuroscience. He then created a company called Virtuleap, which is all about designing products that help with learning challenges such as ADHD.
Virtuleap: What is Virtual Reality?
We are living in a world with artificial intelligence and augmented reality, but do we really understand what it is?
Bozorgzadeh describes VR as an embodied digital format. Our brains dedicate up to 40% of processing of the visual sense. VR is about tricking the virtual sense. This means that all our senses, our bodies, and everything that is non-verbal such as fear and love believe that it is real. It is a digital medium that is an imitation of the real world.
Virtuleap is 100% VR, so if you want to use the app then you will need headsets. You can download the app through various app stores, and it is free. There are about 15 exercises, each one focusing on a few different cognitive domains. It is not limited to the ones we know such as memory and problem-solving, but also exposes us to ones we may not know of such as motor control skills and spatial audio awareness.
Virtuleap does not change your optimum, as anyone at any level can use it. However, it does provide regular data and shows you where you might have a shortfall which could lead to an underlying, unknown condition. It helps you understand your cognitive performance data, as it reveals information about your general health. Based on certain deficits, your cognitive performance data can help you detect if you are depressed
How can Virtuleap be used in the workplace?
The brain needs to be exercised with different activities. It’s important for your brain health, brain muscles, and areas of your brain that need to be exercised with different activities designed by neuroscientists.
Virtuleap collaborates with different neuroscience groups from MIT, Stanford, and UCL as well as other parts of the world such as Japan to make these activities easily accessible to everybody.
In the workplace, you’ll be given more tools that can help with your productivity. You’ll also be given access to exercise that can be able to see how your unique cognitive fingerprint describes you and show what kind of skills you need to work on to get to a certain career trajectory. It can also be used to help individuals to follow a certain path career-wise.
Virtuleap has been around for 5 years. Their focus is to give availability to all clinicians across all therapeutic areas. There are about 12 active lines of studies and partnerships happening in markets like the US, UK, and Europe. In addition, they have a big study that’s about to happen in India on topics such as depression, mild cognitive impairment, and ADHD.
Research is being incrementally received and then published. Bozorgzadeh mentions that there is an app that many people will be aware of, a brain training app that will be a reimbursable solution where doctors can prescribe instead of giving patients pills right away. Instead of giving patients drugs right away, they will focus on giving them a multi-sensory, full-body engagement experience. This has seen an increase in processing speed and working memory.
The difference between Virtuleap and its competitors
“It’s a Rocky Balboa sorta movie, you are going to face barriers whether it’s small ones or big ones, but you do not accept quitting whatsoever,” says Bozorgzadeh. This is what separates you from when someone has failed. Being stubborn in what you believe in will separate you from those who have restrictions.
Dementia and Virtual Reality
Dementia is a hard topic to talk about as you are essentially losing your brain, and it just stops working. It’s also the fear of losing your identity and your family losing you. Bozorgzadeh revealed that they have a second product when it comes to approaching dementia, called CogniClear VR.
This product is not for daily use, not for therapeutics and the general population. It’s a 30-minute screening tool, and while it is not screening for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, it is screening pre-conditions. For instance, prior to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, you might have mild cognitive impairment (MCI). With CogniClear VR, it can capture and detect a stage called subjective cognitive decline, which is a stage right before MCI. The tool is a VR-based screening tool to help spot anomalies decades ago, and it was used by clinicians to make it easier and more efficient.
The ultimate vision with technology is that all the data intersects seamlessly with your historical data, and you get that alert right in those moments in that period of time. This way, you can actively address your lifestyle habits, figure out things to intervene, and then steer clear from a nightmare scenario many years before it poses a threat to you.
Watch the full interview
To learn more about colds and flu for your health, watch the full interview below:
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