Science & Tech

Electric headset delivers groundbreaking results for treating depression

Electric headset delivers groundbreaking results for treating depression

A new drug-free treatment for depression has delivered groundbreaking results in one of the largest-ever clinical trials of its kind.

Flow Neuroscience is the first hardware-enabled digital health company and is a medically approved at-home brain stimulation treatment for depression. Last summer, Flow received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation - the first and only tDCS device to do so.

What is it and how does it work?

Founded in 2016 in Malmö, Sweden, clinical psychologist Daniel Månsson and neuroscientist Erik Rehn set out to develop transformational treatments for mental health using innovation and traditional science and healthcare.

The futuristic device uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to target the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain controlling key cognitive skills such as emotional expression and most associated with depression.

The headset delivers weak direct electrical current via electrodes to restore activity in the left frontal lobe and is said to help rebalance activity.


The comparison between Flow's recent RCT trial and the antidepressant RCT trial indicates that Flow is twice as effective at treating depression than antidepressants - with none of the side effects.

In a recent clinical trial which took place at the University of Texas and the University of East London and cost millions to conduct, 56 per cent of participants reportedly went into remission and were completely free of depression symptoms within 10 weeks. A further 62 per cent were measured to have an improvement in symptoms of at least 50 per cent.

The headset is currently live in four NHS trials, with many more in the pipeline. It is also prescribed by hundreds of clinicians across the UK and available in pharmacies and Boots.

Flow also recently received a review from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) which concluded: "There is high-quality, comparative evidence from the UK that Flow can improve symptoms of depression and lead to remission."


Daniel Mansson, co-founder of Flow Neuroscience, said: "There are many patients suffering from depression that are not getting any better. For some people, medication isn’t the right solution; others can’t access the help that they need as quickly as they need it. People across the world are suffering day in and day out from depression, and what we want to do is to help these people to get well."

The headset (£399) and refill pads (£15) can be purchased online or customers can rent the device monthly (£79). Available for both iPhone and Android, the app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play, and users must be at least 17 years old to download.

People must consult with a doctor ahead of treatment.

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