Key researchers behind two rising Spin Up companies, EmotEd’s Dawn Neumann and Anagin’s Anantha Shekhar, presented their novel methods of treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alexithymia this week at the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The event is described by the Defense Health Agency as the year’s premier scientific meeting for the Department of Defense, with more than 250 presentations and 750 poster displays on hand. Keynote speakers include top health officials from various U.S. military branches, as well as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson.
The conference offered a opportune forum for the type of work that both Indianapolis-based companies are pursuing. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, studies of service members deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003 indicated that 10 to 18 percent were likely to return with some form of PTSD.
Through a reality-based video game known as Emotion Builder, EmotEd treats disorders that stem from alexithymia, or difficulties in recognizing emotion. Some forms of alexithymia stem from PTSD or traumatic brain injury. Anagin develops drugs that block the target mechanism of PTSD without triggering other mechanisms that cause crippling side effects such as agitation, irritability, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, memory lapses, motor skill problems and addiction.
Both companies were formed through the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.’s Spin Up program. Spin Up allows entrepreneurial scientists to focus on the research that makes their innovations marketable, while Spin Up’s staff manages daily operations and early fundraising for fledgling firms.