Meet the University of Minnesota Scientists Trying to Retrain the Brain

Since 2013, scientists at the U of M have been working on an ambitious program called MnDRIVE Brain Conditions to bring new and improved therapies to Minnesotans suffering from a wide range of brain conditions.

MnDRIVE is working on solutions for things like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, sleep disorders, mental illness and even addiction—all chronic afflictions that dimish a person’s quality of life. MnDRIVE estimates that one in five Americans live with some sort of debilitating brain condition. The social and economic impacts of these diseases are devastating, with annual US healthcare and lost productivity costs estimated at nearly $500 billion, according to the University of Minnesota.

So how does one go about tackling the world’s most serious brain conditions? Scientists and researchers at the U are using neuromodulation, the practice of adjusting the activity of certain neural circuits to decrease symptoms and improve brain function. Symptoms can be “adjusted” a number of ways, including visual distraction or electric stimulation.

... The University of Minnesota’s Venture Center plays a vital role in making sure technology developed by MnDRIVE and other initiatives get out of the lab and into the world. Since 2006, the center has launched more than 150 startup companies based on technology pioneered at the University of Minnesota. Today, around 78 percent of these companies are still active and have raised, in total, more than $405 million in investment capital.

Read the full story in Minne Inno.