Josep Tomas
Miyabi Labs
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Startup Bets on Virtual Reality to Treat Mental Dissorders

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 17:37

Q: What are the main benefits of using Miyabi Labs’ technology to treat ADHD?
A: Miyabi Labs’ technology acts as a support system for cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of ADHD. We are not a replacement but a supporting tool that specialists can use to treat this disorder and improve the patient’s results.
Patients receive many different benefits from using our equipment. Virtual reality allows us to control the environment the patient is subjected to, removing stimuli from the real world and presenting them with a controlled vision. The system can simulate everyday tasks in a controlled environment that the patient can then perform in the real world. Children often dislike regular therapy but find virtual reality to be a fun and engaging experience, which leads to higher treatment adherence. Some therapists have already successfully incorporated this technology to their regular practice and have improved patient engagement.
Q: How is Miyabi Labs working to promote the use of virtual reality as part of the treatment for ADHD?
A: We are working with universities to develop clinical research protocols and with psychologists so they can incorporate our system into their practice. We are also working with school psychologists so they can use this at their schools. One of our goals as Miyabi Labs is to positively impact society. We have a support group for mothers of children with ADHD, which allows us to provide mothers with personalized support. Our ultimate goal is for our equipment to be available at patients’ homes to support parents of children with ADHD. Our short-term goal is for the equipment to be available at specialists’ offices and in schools.
Q: How can technology help patients become more actively involved in their care?
A: Children with ADHD face problems in their neurological development, which can become a handicap and affect their quality of life and normal development. For some, these problems manifest as an impediment to developing social relationships. For others, it reflects in poor academic performance or poor work life later on. Those who suffer from ADHD are often highly creative and intelligent but face several issues to develop their abilities. They also often lack social abilities. Being able to tackle these problems provides individuals with the necessary tools to live a normal and successful life.
Q: What are the main challenges Miyabi Labs faces to fully penetrate the Mexican market?
A: Ignorance and reticence are the main barriers. Some medical professionals are unaware of the benefits of new technologies and others are reticent to use them because they think this technology could become their competition. Investors are also often reticent to invest in healthcare in Mexico as they believe the sector to be too risky. Mexico has a poor investment culture, unlike the US or Europe where investors are more willing to enter the healthcare sector.
Q: How can Miyabi Labs’ technology contribute to the treatment of other disorders?
A: Our product does not only address ADHD but also helps manage other neurological development problems, such as autistic spectrum disorder. There are no limitations for our growth as our system can be adapted to fit the needs of any country. The only barriers are the cultural differences in handling development problems specific to each country. Some cultures, for instance, reject medication or other types of treatments. At this point, we are operating in Guadalajara and our goal is to bring our products to Mexico City. We expect to continue growing alongside the Mexican healthcare industry, which grows steadily year after year. Moreover, WHO has singled out mental health as one of the main global problems to tackle in the midterm, meaning many more opportunities for us. Technology is taking an increasingly important role in the treatment of mental diseases. New technologies, such as virtual reality, will help to manage many more mental issues, such as phobias or phantom limb pain.