Nordic Brain Tech: Preventing Migraines

Written by: Victoria Wæthing

07.01.2021

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Photo by: synlig.no

One billion people suffer from migraines world-wide, and yet it is a condition that has received bafflingly little attention. Now, Nordic Brain Tech offers a revolutionary way of preventing migraines.  

Quite often a chronic condition, migraines have also led to a stigma, as people often misinterpret a migraine as just another headache. 75% of the people suffering from migraines are women, and to this day, there is still little research devoted to this suffering.  

Cathrine Ro Heuch is one of the founders, and CEO of the company Nordic Brain Tech, a start-up company that has developed medical technologies for improved brain health, specializing in neurology and neuropsychology. Their product is a non-pharmacological preventive migraine treatment utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, and thus helping one in seven people across the planet suffering from migraines.  

A Personal Story 

Growing up, Cathrine Ro Heuch (27) herself, suffered from migraines, and even though both her parents are neurologists, there were few options other than a dark room once the migraine attack would set in. Heuch has a master’s in chemical engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and proceeded to the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship where she discovered her passion for business.  

After completing her degree, she would work with several founders before coming across one neurologist, one neuropsychologist and a medical student who were in the process of creating a digital way of treating migraines. She could see the benefits of this product from her own personal history, but the young entrepreneur also saw the potential in a product that could easily scale up and go big—internationally.  

Photo by: Hans Jorgen Ro

Offering Treatment to Everyone 

Nordic Brain Tech is based on biofeedback treatment, which is a preventive treatment, used by many therapists, that have shown to be quite effective. Biofeedback treatment started in the 60s and 70s in Germany and in the US, where private clinics would treat patients by training their nervous system to avert a migraine attack. It was quite effective and reduced the attacks by 30-50%. However, until now it is a treatment that is both time consuming and expensive, and unfortunately, quite few clinics and hospitals offer this treatment.  

Nordic Brain Tech has taken the idea behind biofeedback treatment and made it accessible for everybody. By using sensors on your finger and neck that will send signals to your phone, you can follow the instructions on your phone, and that will offer the same treatment as you would have received from a therapist. Only with Nordic Brain Tech, you will be sitting comfortably in your own home while having an AI therapist treating you and thus preventing your own migraine attack.  

Nordic Brain Tech hopes to launch their first product in 2023, and so far the company has a few venture backers such as StartupLab and some angel investors, that have invested around 5 million Norwegian kroner.  

Photo of Cathrine Ro Heuch

Being a Young Female Founder 

There are few women who fund companies, and yet fewer women who invest. Although there have been people—older men in particular—that have mentioned her age and her looks, Heuch says any negative comments about her being a woman has only made her want to succeed even more. However, she believes that women are often more apprehensive towards working in a start-up because of the risk it entails.

Yet, the times are changing, and Heuch is happy to say that a lot of girls studying entrepreneurship are contacting the company wanting to work with them. “The start-up business has a lot of risk, but that is also what makes it fun. And then you just have to go for it,” says Heuch. •