MindTech at the Mood and Psychosis Biodesign workshop

Posted on: 03/10/2019

KTN’s Neurotechnology SIG and MindTech are running a workshop on the treatment of mood and psychotic disorders, with a bio-design approach.


KTN’s Neurotechnology Special Interest Group (Neurotechnology SIG) will be running a Mood and Psychosis Biodesign workshop on 12th Nov, in Nottingham in collaboration with MindTech (NIHR Mental Health MedTech Co-operative).


In recent years there has been a rise in awareness in mental health and the importance of treating mental health conditions with the same urgency as physical health conditions. Comorbidity in mental health can also lead to worsening physical health. The aim is to give mental health parity of esteem. People can die earlier from mental health issues if left untreated than if detected and treated earlier. The large proportion of mental health problems arise at a young age and if not detected early and treated, it can lead to a lifelong battle with mental illness.


MindTech is a national centre funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It is 1 of 11 MedTech In-vitro Diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs). The MICs focus on technologies which fulfil areas of unmet needs within the NHS and the overall health system. MindTech, as the name suggests, focusses on the area of mental health developing different methods to advance the adoption of these technologies in the NHS. The work is very much a co-partnership with the University of Nottingham and the local Nottinghamshire NHS Trust, based at the Institute of Mental Health in the University of Nottingham Innovation Park. In particular MindTech focusses on many non-drug treatments known as psychosocial interventions. Areas of interest include mood disorders, psychosis, dementia and neurodevelopmental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Tourette Syndrome. For example, the centre is currently in the middle of trials for intervention for Tourette’s. The therapy was developed in Sweden and the trial, called the ORBIT study, involves videos and web-based platforms which were transformed and translated for use in the UK.


Another example is QbTest developed as an objective test of ADHD already being used in the NHS. MindTech has worked with the company QbTech for many years now to help independently generate evidence for its use. A trial was run to see whether having this computerised test could help with accuracy and a quicker diagnosis. It was found that the test had about the same diagnostic accuracy as if it was done face-to-face but enabled a diagnosis to be reached more quickly. If this were used across the NHS, this would help children or adults waiting to be diagnosed and treated.


Dr. Michael Craven is Senior Research Fellow within the University of Nottingham and works fulltime for MindTech. Mike describes their work as “very much a partnership with others in the field to advance the evidence for the right types of solutions, suggested by industry or parts of research”. This can comprise of clinical trials, identifying potential technologies, identifying gaps in the healthcare system and advancing solutions suggested by industry or research. When promising technology is identified within the UK, or elsewhere, the next step is facilitating its adoption more widely within the UK. The team at MindTech enables the running of clinical trials where they facilitate and advise on the implementation of technologies with patients. This often includes running a randomised control trial, where the controlled blinded study is tested against the usual treatments.


To implement a new treatment within the NHS, a company will need to generate evidence from a trial; or they might need some more work to be done before it gets to that stage; or a product needs to be developed further. This is where MindTech can help by advising companies on the best approach, sometimes facilitating partnerships. They may help design a study in cooperation with NHS Trusts who then deliver it to patients. A recent example is virtual reality therapy for schizophrenia (or psychosis). Development and evaluation of the intervention is being led by the University of Oxford, partnering with MindTech and five NHS trusts are involved from five different parts of the country – Oxford, Nottingham and three others. “This sort of collaboration is necessary to get the number of patients to produce meaningful results,” says Mike.


MindTech also helps companies in the early stages of these solution technologies, sometimes getting involved after a technology is already in use where there is a need for additional evidence to show the efficacy and efficiency over existing treatments. Sometimes a new and innovative technology is delivering a therapy known to work in a novel way. An example is cognitive behavioural therapy. This is typically delivered face to face, where a patient goes into a clinic to see a psychiatrist or psychologist and receives an intervention. Technology helps in this area by increasing the accessibility through a video calling link. These have been shown to be effective and cost-effective. In general there needs to be an evidence-based case built through a randomised trial clearly highlighting both clinical and cost effectiveness.


Mike will be co-hosting at the KTN’s Neurotechnology SIG Mood and Psychotic Disorders Biodesign workshop in Nottingham on Tuesday, 12 November.

Register today to hear more about the work done by MindTech and projects by other companies, clinicians and researchers in the field.

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