July 18, 2024
Brain stimulation tech wins €5M to fight depression at home

Depression affects approximately 280 million people all over the world, and disproportionately affects the female population — it is 50% more common in women than men. Treatments range from psychotherapy and lifestyle adjustments to antidepressants and more experimental concepts: brain stimulation therapies.

Sooma, a medtech startup based in Helsinki, Finland, is focused on the latter. The company has developed a portable brain stimulation device for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).

Its neuromodulation device is already the most prescribed tDCS therapy worldwide, with over 20,000 people having received treatment. Sooma announced today it has secured additional growth funding of €5mn to further develop the product and expand in new and existing markets.

What is tDCS for depression? 

tDCS is a form of neuromodulation (the process of regulating nervous system activity by controlling the physiological levels of neurons) that uses a low electrical current to stimulate specific parts of the brain.

So how exactly does wearing a swimming cap with electrodes alleviate depression symptoms? The mild electrical currents administered through the cap can influence the activity of specific brain cells, responsible for releasing neurotransmitters related to mood. In addition, a 2023 study published in Nature found that specific set-ups of tDCS generated more grey matter, key component of the brain’s neural tissue, in areas of the brain associated with loss of grey matter from depression.

The Sooma team of four people posing together