As Re:Cognition Health expands globally, CEO Dr Emer MacSweeney tells NR Times what this would mean both for patients and research developments.
Health and care services for those with neurological conditions were significantly impacted by the pandemic, with many patients facing an increased risk from the virus.
In the UK, the backlog of neurology and neurosurgery appointments was exacerbated by a growing number of long Covid patients requiring neuro-rehab, neurological and neuro-psychiatric care.
But although Covid has magnified the challenges facing rehabilitation services, Dr Emer MacSweeney, neuroradiologist and co-founder of Re:Cognition Health, says that the pandemic has also increased awareness of neurological diseases.
“With the NHS being completely overloaded and having to deal with operational backlogs and waiting lists, it was great that we started our service a few years prior to the pandemic, so that we could support people when they needed,” she says.
Re:Cognition Health provides cognitive healthcare services for patients of all ages, including conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, migraine and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The company has already established six clinics in the UK and opened its first centre in the US in May 2018.
“Tom Dent, my co-founder, is American, so expanding the business in the US was always our intention,” says Dr MacSweeney.
“Starting in the US was challenging, especially during Covid, but we were very fortunate to have a great international network. We now have an amazing team there, we started doing clinical trials and we will be able to open our second centre later this year, then expand to other regions.”
Enrolling people on clinical trials for new biomarkers and and new disease modifying medications is crucial, the co-founder says.
“Early diagnosis allows us to give patients access to treatments designed to slow down or ideally halt the progression of the disease,” she explains.
“For Autism, for example, if you really want to make a difference to IQ, you have to diagnose and treat before the age of five.
“That is why having really sophisticated early diagnostic biomarkers is key.”
The National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System, which tracks the epidemiology of neurological conditions in the US, has found that neurological disorders and conditions have substantial and sometimes devastating consequences for millions of Americans.
“I think there’s a great need for our services particularly in the US,” Dr MacSweeney says.
“The neurological field is fast and dynamic at the minute and it’s an incredible space to be in. Our aim is to treat more patients and expand the bandwidth of both the conditions we treat, and the research we’re becoming active in.
“We’re currently looking at personal protection devices for contact sports players, for example Rezon halos headbands designed to reduce rotational forces to the brain to slow down the progression of CTE and along with an academic group from King’s College London, we’re looking at increasing the refinement of the ability to diagnose microscopic structural brain injury, during life,” she continues.
“Collaborating with various different groups means that we can really create something much bigger and much more impactful than any group could do on its own.”
Education is another area in which the company wants to take part by establishing the Re:Cognition Health Brain and Mind Foundation to support research development and individuals trying to manage brain injury or progressive neurodegenerative diseases.
MacSweeney says: “Very often one of reasons why someone didn’t do anything in the early stages is because they were not informed about the condition. People don’t know enough about the early symptoms and possibilities for diagnosis and treatment. So, education is a huge area that we are really passionate because if people don’t know they have a problem, then they are not going to seek help.
“Your brain is the most complex and precious thing you have and protecting it is incredibly important. We hope we will be able to raise awareness around mental health and brain conditions, provide solutions and be there for people,” she adds.
“We are in a hugely privileged position to be able to make a big difference, but we also have a massive responsibility to manage every aspect of cognitive care.”
For more information, visit recognitionhealth.com.
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