MedRhythms, focused on creating treatments that incorporate music to aid people with walking problems due to neurological disorders, announced the issue of a new U.S. patent covering the audio engine of its digital therapeutics platform.
The patent awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office is called “Enhancing Music for Repetitive Motion Activities.”
MedRhythms’s technology centers around an intervention called Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS). This relies on matching rhythmic cues with bodily movements, like walking in time to the beat of a song.
More than 50 published scientific studies have shown that RAS can help improve motor function in people with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, the company reports on its website.
RAS is believed to work through a process called entrainment. Within the brain, some of the same pathways involved in controlling movement are also involved in processing auditory signals. Entrainment is the ‘syncing’ of these processes. It is believed this could enhance neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to make new connections in response to new information, stimulation or development.
MedRhythms is developing RAS-based therapies for multiple neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS). The company announced the formation of new advisory boards for these two conditions in early 2020.
MedRhythms also announced plans earlier this year for a pilot clinical trial of MR-004, MedRhythm’s RAS-based investigational therapy for walking difficulties in people with MS. A trial testing the RAS-based technology in people with movement problems due to a stroke has also been announced.
The new patent (US20190022351A1) is the second in MedRhythms’s portfolio. It covers the company’s proprietary audio engine, patenting the engine’s ability to screen and alter songs to make them more useful in a RAS-centered therapy. This is important for providing optimal rhythmic stimulation to the nervous system.
“Building a strong IP portfolio is an integral part of our strategy to build a large, defensible and successful company that makes a big impact in the world,” Brian Harris, the co-founder and chief executive officer of MedRhythms, said in a press release.
“With the granting of this patent, MedRhythms is one step closer to scaling products that improve the lives and mobility of the millions of people around the world with neurologic injuries and diseases,” Harris added.
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