Inventors: Brian Lithgow and Jayshri Kulkarni

Inventors: Brian Lithgow and Jayshri Kulkarni

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:21:43

By Mercedes Joshua |

inventorsBrian Lithgow is a Senior Lecturer of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering. Brian’s research interests include Neurological, Neurodegenerative and Vestibular diagnostics and modeling particularly related to Parkinson’s, Schizophrenia, Depression and Meniere’s diseases.  Jayashri Kulkarni directs a large psychiatric research group, the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), with approximately 119 staff and students. The Centre is dedicated to discovering new treatments, new understanding and new services for people with a range of mental illnesses. Jayashri has pioneered the novel use of estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia and is internationally acknowledged as a leader in the field of reproductive hormones and their impact on mental health. Lithgow and Jayshri are the inventors of EVestG. EVestG is a new diagnostic technique that measures the patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (or balance) system allowing Doctors to dramatically fast-track the detection of mental and neurological illnesses.

The inspiration for EVestG came when Lithgow saw the diagnostic potential of measuring and comparing different patterns of electro vestibular activity because the brain’s vestibular system is closely connected to the primitive regions of the brain that relate to emotions and behavior. Working with Jayashri and other psychiatry researchers at Monash University’s Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), he tested volunteers and found distinct response patterns, or “biomarkers”, that distinguished different CNS diseases from each other and from regular electro vestibular activity.

Electrovestibulography (EVestG) is a new diagnostic tool/system which allows for a visualization of the vestibular signal. As the vestibular system is sensitive to fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels, EVestG has shown potential to evaluate not only vestibular disorders but a range of other neuropsychiatric disorders (including depression and bipolar disorder). At this stage, EVestG biomarkers are being discovered / “mined” /calibrated from the brainwaves of people already diagnosed with mental or nerve conditions compared with age and gender match healthy controls. These biomarkers correlations have sensitivities and specificities of 90% with their primary diagnosis and are available within the 45 minutes it takes to process the signal through a computer. I think this is a brilliant invention. Lithgow and Jayashri saw what needed to be done and took the initiative to get it done.


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