Evoke Neuroscience in Costa Mesa to offer new memory testing for earlier detection of Alzheimer’s
The eVox device can produce specialized memory assessment reports designed to help physicians provide earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.PROVIDED BY EVOKE NEUROSCIENCE
Evoke Neuroscience, a technology company that focuses on in-depth brain assessments, will soon provide physicians with specialized memory reports to help them offer earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
“As the population grows older, more and more people are concerned about memory decline and memory-related disorders,” said Dr. David Hagedorn, a trained clinical psychologist who is Evoke’s chief executive and co-founder. “Early recognition is essential in order to begin the precious few treatments that have proven to be effective, and our system is designed for that.”
Evoke, which has offices in Costa Mesa, New York and North Carolina, launched its eVox system, a comprehensive brain analysis device, in 2012.
The portable product uses electrophysiological sensors to perform a variety of brain sensing and cognition tests, producing a detailed report on brain function and identifying any abnormalities.
Evoke sells the eVox system – which includes a laptop with the software, all necessary supplies and 20 reports – to physicians for $19,900. The company charges $299 for each additional report.
The initial price tag is high, but the payback has the potential to be great. Medicare, the federal health program for seniors, reimburses physicians an average of $800 per use of the machine, said Marinela Gombosev, the company’s executive vice president of operations and marketing. Some commercial insurers reimburse at a higher rate.
Though the eVox system can and has been adapted for other uses – including evaluation of traumatic brain injuries, ADD, anxiety disorders and depression – the new reports, available by the end of the third quarter, will focus specifically on assessing memory.
Gombosev said Evoke is putting the spotlight on memory because that is where there is the most need. As many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease, and the number of cases is rising as the population ages, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
The eVox system compares a patient’s memory function directly to people of the same age with no memory problems, said Gombosev.
The new reports produced by eVox will help physicians discern whether irregularities, if any, are a normal part of aging or reflect a more serious underlying problem – like the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
If an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is made, the eVox can conduct neurofeedback therapy, a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that tries to teach the brain to function correctly by targeting the deficient sections.
Though neurofeedback is not a cure and is still very new, it can be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s symptoms in areas like memory, decision making and organization, Hagedorn said.
Dr. John McGee of Palo Alto, who has been using the eVox in his brain wellness clinic for two years, called the system “phenomenal and very sophisticated.”
“The eVox gives me a report that I can integrate with a patient’s medical history and other factors to come up with a diagnosis,” he said.
“The system helps provide a much higher level of accuracy, and I am sure that will only improve with the new reports that focus in on just the brain’s memory functions.”
The tests can be performed by a primary care physician within 20 minutes on a single system, said Evoke co-founder Dr. James Thompson, a kinesiologist by training.
Previously, that level of analysis would have required two to three hours, many different types of hardware and software, and advanced technical expertise.
“This is the first time this kind of tool is available for primary care physicians and not just neurologists and brain specialists,” said Gombosev. “Physicians are often not used to thoroughly assessing the brain within the scope of their practices, but now they can.”
Electrophysiology, the core element of the eVox system, is one of the only measures that has been shown to be sensitive enough for pre-clinical detection of memory impairments, said Thompson, who also works as Evoke’s chief technical officer.
“There is a very strong push right now for earlier detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s,” Thompson said. “And with stronger technology in the hands of primary care physicians, we can make that more feasible.”
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