Last March, MedTech Boston interviewed MedRhythms CEO Brian Harris about his company and the service they provided, neurologic music therapy (NMT). At the time, MedRhythms was providing personalized NMT to patients with neurological injuries such as Parkinson’s, stroke related injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Now, with their new digital platform, MedRythms is poised to deliver constantly-improving, fully personalized NMT to a wider range of patients than ever before.
No stimulus that activates multiple areas of the brain in the way that music does. A typical NMT session lasts 60 minutes, and involves a trained NMT professional guiding the patient through an interactive program of therapeutic interventions that might include playing an instrument, singing along to music, or some other activity designed especially for that patient. It can have dramatic effects on a patient’s recovery, treating a range of symptoms including impaired mobility, speech, and vision.
MedRhythyms maintains an active in-patient and out-patient staffing service, providing NMT services to patients in partnership with Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts and Boston University’s Aphasia Resource Center; however, with demand for trained NMT professionals exceeding supply, new approaches are needed to make this care accessible— not to mention cheap enough for people without expensive insurance coverage.
That’s why Harris and his colleagues are developing a digital medicine platform to administer therapy to users. The platform will also be capable of collecting data and tracking patient progress during therapy sessions. The platform is currently in its prototype stage, says Harris, but the goal is to make it a semi-autonomous vehicle capable of delivering advanced therapy to the millions of patients suffering from the effects of a stroke or other TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
Stroke remains a leading cause of disability in the united states, with an estimated occurrence of once every 40 seconds. Around one third of all survivors suffer from Aphasia, or impaired language, and many stroke survivors suffer some form of limited mobility— including half of all survivors over 65, according to the American Heart Association. If MedRhythms can create an effective and affordable digital medicine platform for treating these conditions, the $28 billion spent each year on outpatient rehabilitation costs could be reduced and access to the latest NMT made more readily available for survivors of strokes and other TBIs.
To help make their vision a reality, MedRhythms announced on December 8th new appointments to their board of advisors who bring with them decades of knowledge and experience. “We believe at MedRhythms that it is important to have a multi-disciplinary team of advisors to inform our strategy and ensure that we are striving for world-class standards as we set on a mission to reach everyone on the earth,” says Owen McCarthy, President and co-founder of MedRhythms. “This team will be a critical part of our success.”
The new advisors include Dr. Michael Thaut, the founder of NMT, David Storto, President of Spaulding Network and Partners Continuing Care, Dr. Lou Awad, Associate Professor at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and Scott Wallace, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Optum Labs. Applying these advisors’ combined expertise to the creation of a digital NMT product marks a major step forward for MedRhythms and has stirred excitement among the team for what the future holds.
Regarding his new partnership with MedRhythms, Scott Wallace expressed optimism. “I am thrilled to work with the team at MedRhythms to help bring innovation to the rehabilitation and physical therapy markets. These underserved populations are in need of a disruptive and transformative application of advanced analytics, automated and objective assessments, and the creative use of music as therapy. MedRhythms is in a great position to capitalize on their knowledge and experience in the therapy industry and I look forward to supporting them as they execute on their innovative vision.”
New England based digital medicine startup, MedRhythms, is proud to announce appointments to their board of advisors that represents an interdisciplinary team of thought leaders in their respective fields. With a commitment to their mission of bringing the highest quality of care to everyone, MedRhythms is building products focused on rehabilitation incorporating biomarker sensing, deep learning, music and neuroscience.
Their new advisors bring a wealth of relevant industry experience and include:
David Storto, President of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network a Partners Continuing Care, where he has served in this or similar roles for nearly 30 years;
Dr. Lou Awad, Associate Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Assistant Professor at Boston University;
Scott Wallace, VP of Business Development at Optum Labs with decades of experience in healthcare and technology.
Dr. Michael Thaut, an international leader in neuroscience and music; Director of the the Music and Health Collaboratory at the University of Toronto; and founder of Neurologic Music Therapy
“We believe at MedRhythms that it is important to have a multi-disciplinary team of advisors to inform our strategy and ensure that we are striving for world-class standards as we set on a mission to reach everyone on the earth. This team will be a critical part of our success.” said Owen McCarthy, MedRhythms co-founder and President.
David Storto says: “I have witnessed the power of neurologic music therapy on the recovery of brain injury patients and believe this is valuable treatment and something that more healthcare providers should seriously consider incorporating.”
Coming from a technology, data, and payor perspective Scott Wallace is equally excited to support MedRhythms stating: “I am thrilled to work with the team at MedRhythms to help bring innovation to the rehabilitation and physical therapy markets. These underserved populations are in need of a disruptive and transformative application of advanced analytics, automated and objective assessments, and the creative use of music as therapy.
MedRhythms is in a great position to capitalize on their knowledge and experience in the therapy industry and I look forward to supporting them as they execute on their innovative vision.”
MedRhythms is a seed stage company that is marching towards building a prototype digital medicine product informed by the MedRhythms Therapy business which provides therapists to facilities and people across New England. MedRhythms’ progress thus far has been assisted by funding from the Maine Technology Institute and other unnamed investors.
For questions, please contact MedRhythms at firstname.lastname@example.org
A new crop of startups are combining science and sound to help people to self-medicate with music on an unprecedented scale.
"Cetnar said that the goals of music therapy vary wildly from patient to patient, but the primary goal for language is always functional speech. “Is Tracey going to be able to have a conversation like you and I? No. But we want him to get better at communicating his functional needs,” said Cetnar.
Since the stroke, Raisis’s journey to recovery hasn’t been linear, said Bell. There were some months when he could walk with a cane. Then there were setbacks — he was recently hospitalized for a urinary tract infection and is back in a wheelchair again. Now he’s better, and working with Cetnar again."
MedRhythms is proud to announce as of February 2016 Dr. Ron Hirschberg has joined our team as Clinical Lead. Dr. Hirschberg is leading the charge in education, awareness and research initiatives in the exciting and growing field of music neurorehabilitation.
Dr. Hirschberg is an instructor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, consultant physiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and staff physiatrist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Hirschberg sub-specializes in acute care trauma rehabilitation with emphasis on traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, as well as neurorehabilitation in stroke and Parkinson’s. In addition, he is currently working with the Veteran TBI population at the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base program. He is a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
“I was excited when I saw the tangible responses and functional outcomes patients were seeing with neurologic music therapy and, as an active musician and songwriter, the healing nature of music has always fascinated me. The newer research supporting this field has further piqued my interest, and I am thrilled to be collaborating with the great team at MedRhythms”
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Hirschberg to the MedRhythms team. His experience in the field, excitement for the cause, and passion for making NMT accessible to everyone in need, will make him an outstanding asset to the team; while bringing an expertise in clinical content and research,” said by MedRhythms CEO Brian Harris.
The 26-year old from North Andover was in a coma for two months. When he regained consciousness he could not walk or talk.
But thanks, in part, to neurologic music therapy, Andrew has made huge strides.
Spaulding Rehab Launches First-of-its-kind Outpatient Neurologic Music Therapy Program With MedRhythms
(Boston, MA)- The deep rooted connections music can create within the human brain has existed since the first stages of human evolution. It is only recently that medical science has sought to harness that capability to reactivate areas of the brain damaged by trauma or illness. Music Therapy was once the domain for purely patient recreation. Neurologic music therapists have begun to become vital parts of the care team in leading institutions for patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, stroke and other neurologic conditions. Spaulding Rehabilitation Network was one of the first rehab providers in the country to create a full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) inpatient program and has now announced a partnership with Boston and Portland, Maine based MedRhythms to offer NMT services on an outpatient basis, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.
“Spaulding has always been at the forefront of technologies and treatments for people recovering from all ranges of injuries and trauma. After seeing the overwhelmingly positive results for our inpatient populations we knew this was a service that could meet a real need for those continuing rehabilitation months and years out from their injury. It’s exciting to partner with MedRhythms and give the patients we serve a new way to improve their lives,” said Rob Welch, Senior Vice President of Outpatient Services, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.
NMT is the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system. Based upon neuroscience research, NMT provides specific, individualized, and standardized interventions for those affected by neurologic injury or disease. NMT differs from traditional Music Therapy as it views music not through a social science model for well being, but through a neuroscience lens, where music is a hard-wired brain language. Treatment techniques are based on the scientific knowledge of music perception and production and the effects thereof nonmusical brain and behavior functions.
“In addition to the profound functional outcomes, when using NMT we often see the positive energy not only of the patient but of their family and often other caregivers. We are so proud to find a partner like Spaulding who has the foresight to see the dynamic potential NMT can have for people with neurologic injuries and diseases. We are excited to get started and reach even more people through this outpatient service,” Brian Harris, Certified Neurologic Music Therapist and CEO of MedRhythms.
The outpatient NMT program will be based at the Spaulding Boston Outpatient Center located on the 2nd floor of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital at 300 First Avenue in Charlestown, Mass. For more information on Spaulding’s Neurologic Music Therapy Program or to schedule an appointment contact 617.952.6200 and select option 3.
About Spaulding Rehabilitation Network
A member of Partners HealthCare, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, its main campus the new 132-bed facility in Charlestown, which is a national model for environmental and inclusive design as well as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge and two skilled nursing facilities, as well as twenty-three outpatient sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Spaulding strives to continually update and improve its programs to offer patients the latest, high-quality care through its leading, expert providers. Spaulding has been awarded a Model Systems designation in three specialty areas- Brain Injury, Burn Injury Rehabilitation, and Spinal Cord Injury - by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Spaulding is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School as well as the official rehabilitation hospital of the New England Revolution. Spaulding is the only rehabilitation hospital in New England continually ranked since 1995 by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Hospitals survey with a #6 ranking in 2015-2016. For more information, please visitwww.spauldingrehab.org.
MedRhythms is a neuro-rehab company that exists to restore the lives and quality of life of loved ones, which brain injury threatens to steal each year. We do this through world-class, life changing care for those afflicted by neurologic injury or disease, using the power of Neurologic Music Therapy. MedRhythms focuses on this intersection between music, neuroscience, and technology, providing interventions to achieve optimum outcomes in sensorimotor, speech & language, and cognitive goals in patients. NMT is used primarily for those afflicted by neurologic injury or disease, including: Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease. Learn more at http://www.medrhythmstherapy.com/
Photo Caption (L-R): Aaron Moore, Site Manager Spaulding Boston, Owen McCarthy, President MedRhythms, Brian Harris, CNMT, CEO MedRhythms, Bob McCall, VP of Inpatient Rehabilitation, Rob Welch, Senior Vice President of Outpatient Services. - END -
"2.5 million people suffer from brain injury or stroke, (in the U.S.), so the market is huge and we know the need is out there," Brian Harris, the founder told CNBC.
According to Harris' research, recent advancements in neuroimaging prove that music engages the entire brain. "There's no other stimulus on earth that has such global activation," he said.
In the future, with more publicity and research, music could play an even larger role in neuroscience, Harris says.
"I truly believe the more we find out music and how it affects the brain, it will change the landscape of healthcare and neurorehab," he adds
MedRhythms, Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley Partners to Launch a Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) Group
“We first learned of NMT on a collaborative visit to Spaulding rehab, where we witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of recovery and the uplifting nature of NMT. NMT has so many amazing benefits that it seems like a perfect fit for Nashoba Valley,” Sara Salamone says.
Our approach is different from other music therapy in that it is all neuro. Most music therapists view music as a social science; using music for well being. We look at music as a neuroscience with interventions deeply rooted in neuroscience research.
MedRhythms has been featured in a news segment on WABI TV5. Click here to watch the video!
"For Brian Harris, music is medicine. “There’s no other stimulus on earth with such global brain activation,” says the local neurologic music therapist, who founded neuro-rehab company MedRhythms last year."
"A local company is treating patients who suffer from neurological disorders and brain injuries with the healing powers of music, a type of therapy researchers say is gaining traction in the medical world."
"Over the past 15 years, the neurologic music therapy field has evolved from that research, demonstrating the direct improvements that music can cause in people with language or cognitive difficulties due to stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, or traumatic brain injuries. And with this movement, MedRhythms emerged to harness music’s healing capabilities and extend them to more patients."
"Greenlight Maine", an upcoming weekly TV show in which Maine entrepreneurs can vie to win a minimum prize of $100,000, said it has selected the 26 semifinalists to compete in the Greenlight Maine weekly TV show that will air statewide this fall.
"There are no losers here," Knox said in a statement. "All of these innovative and bold Greenlight Maine entrepreneurs have validated that our state is on the fast track to growing our next economy."
A stroke or traumatic brain injury starts a race against the clock. Neurosurgeons, emergency room doctors, and paramedics have to take action to limit the damage as quickly as possible before it spreads and devastates portions of the patient’s brain, taking functions such as speech, movement, and memory with it.
Increasingly, music is becoming one of the tools they use, and specialists like MedRhythms founder and CEO Brian Harris are the people they turn to. His Boston-based startup specializes in neurologic music therapy (NMT), a treatment method that’s gaining prominence thanks to the success stories of patients and growing scientific support.