We unlock the power of neuroscience to ease suffering and enhance human potential. We’re on a mission to transform the way the world treats neurological problems with effective, accessible and non-pharmaceutical solutions that harness the latest in science, technology, engineering and big data.
Our proprietary Axon system employs electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback and combines miniaturised technology, Cloud-based AI and consumer-friendly apps to enable patients to self-treat pain and other neurological conditions at home or in a professional setting. Axon works by monitoring brain activity and then helping the patient retrain their brain to interpret nerve signals in a different way.
Exsurgo is rapidly expanding the global database of quality clinical trials and studies to confirm the effectiveness of its technologies for a range of neurologically-related conditions, prior to commercial rollout.
Chronic neuropathic pain after surgery is a significant clinical problem (Borsook et al 2013). People with this pain condition may experience shooting, burning pain, numbness or pins and needles, or hypersensitivity to pain. The pain may be constant or may occur intermittently. Unlike most other types of pain, neuropathic pain does not usually get better with common painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Other medicines commonly used include anti-depressants and anti-convulsant.
Two patients with chronic neuropathic pain following back operations successfully used the Axon intervention to reduce pain and increasing mobility.
Chronic pain is typically defined as pain that continues for more than three months, or lasts longer than the expected duration of recovery. In order to prevent acute pain from becoming a chronic issue, early treatment and intervention is crucial. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a strong intervention that can prevent the onset of chronic pain - swipe below to see six easy methods you can try to help prevent chronic pain from developing.
New research has revealed that combining cognitive behavourial therapy (CBT) with tailored exercises could radically change how chronic back pain is treated. Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt analysed data from 58 controlled studies comprising over 10,000 people with chronic lower back pain. They compared how effective three different treatment options were at reducing chronic pain, including standard exercise treatments like pilates, tailored exercises created by a medical professional, and psychotherapeutic treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The study found tailored exercises were the most effective at reducing pain as the treatment plan was tailored specifically for the patients specific form of pain. Surprisingly, the researchers also found that combining CBT and tailored exercises were 85% more effective at reducing pain than tailored exercises alone. The research demonstrates how important it is to utilise all the tools available to manage your pain and live a fulfilling life.
Entrepreneurship is not a career path known for stable and steady progression, something our CEO and Founder Richard Little can now talk to with much experience. In this sit-down interview with NZBusiness Magazine, Richard unveils the highs and the lows of running a neuroscience company out of New Zealand and balancing the need for financial backing to help keep his dream alive of alleviating chronic pain on a global scale. Richard also talks to the magazine about his problem-solving instinct, lessons he’s learnt from his career, and advice for young entrepreneurs.
Renee Veal lives with a degenerative joint disease and Ehles-Danlos syndrome, meaning she experiences debilitating chronic pain impacting her ability to sleep, eat, smile and laugh. "I am in pain every day... I have migraines, tinnitus in my ears, I have trouble sleeping, eating, talking and smiling," said Renee. After exhausting all other treatment options, Renee's last option is to undergo temporomandibular joint surgery - an invasive surgery that will cost her $90,000. The surgery is publicy funded by Te Whatu Ora in Auckland, but not in Canterbury where she lives. Renee isn't alone, and there are several other reported cases of desperate New Zealanders on the waiting list for jaw surgery which has been closed for more than 12 months. Exsurgo's Axon product hopes to change the way that healthcare is delivered in New Zealand and be available to support people with chronic pain in the comfort of their home.
Evidence suggests that the food you eat may alter how your immune system functions, which can be linked to chronic pain. For example, research shows that foods rich in a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols can have an anti-inflammatory effect that can soothe painful flare-ups. Consider swapping out processed foods with those in a Mediterranean diet such as fruits, dark leafy greens, nuts and wholegrains. Take a look at our carousel below if you need some inspiration!
According to Harvard Health School, what you eat (and don't eat) can have a significant effect on chronic pain. A significant amount of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and research suggests that your diet can both contribute to inflammation as well as reduce it. Inflammation is part of the body's defense mechanism and plays a role in the healing process. It occurs when inflammatory cells travel to the place of an injury or foreign body like bacteria. If inflammatory cells stay too long, it can lead to chronic inflammation. According to Dr. Fred Tabung, researcher with the Department of Nutrition at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a good diet will tell your immune system when to turn on and off. But a poor diet can alter your immune system so it acts abnormally and can contribute to persistent inflammation.
Vidyamala Burch has developed a mindfulness programme to help chronic pain sufferers deal with pain, illness and stress. As she explains in her interview with RadioNZ's Nine to Noon, she started creating this programme after suffering a spinal injury as a teenager which resulted in excruciating pain as a young adult where she found her mind torturing herself for the pain she was feeling. "In a way my whole life has unfolded from that night... So much of our sufferring is the mind sort of layering on all these thoughts and emotions and physical tension to take us away from our experience when actually we just need to come closer to our experience and then live it very fully moment by moment." Burch uses her experiences to help people learn to accept pain instead of resisting the feeling or creating panic when it comes on. Instead, patients are taught self-compassion and deepening awareness of your experience. It's a fascinating and inspiring interview - follow the link to listen.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a poorly understood disorder of the nervous system, usually associated with an injury to an arm or leg or sometimes triggered by another health event. Experts believe that CRPS occurs as a result of dysfunction in your central peripheral nervous systems, involving how your brain and spinal cord relay information to your organs, arms, legs, fingers and toes. The abnormal function results in an overreaction of pain signals that your nervous system cannot shut off. The symptoms of CRPS can greatly impact the function of your affected limb, sleep, daily activities and your mental health.
New research into the effectiveness of Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) shows promising signs that people can be taught to retrain their brains and reverse pain. PRT aims to rewire neural pathways in the brain to deactivate pain and retrain the brain to respond to signals from the body more appropriately, using what's called pain education. The clinical trial published in JAMA Psychiatry focused on reducing a patient's fear of certain movements so that when they do move in ways they once feared, they feel confident that it will not lead to any more pain. MRI scans of the participants' brains before and after the trial showed reduced activity in a number of pain processing brain regions, showing that this treatment changes the brain and how it processes pain.
"I'd love to be able to wake up tomorrow and there be no pain, but we understand no one can help us, so I have to wake up every morning and try to continue on for myself and my wife." Four years after undergoing two open-heart surgeries, Wayne Pickering and his wife got into a car crash. The airbag hit Wayne in the chest, making his existing pain even worse. Since then, he has been experiencing debilitating chronic pain for almost 10 years. After trying every treatment option available on the market, Wayne lives each day in fear wondering when his next pain attack will happen. He has come to terms with the fact his pain isn't going away but with medication, exercise, keeping stress levels down and mindfulness, he's hopeful he can manage it.
Our CEO and Co-founder Richard Little recently featured in the first of a three-part series by National Business Review’s Fiona Rotherham on the current challenges facing New Zealand’s healthtech sector. Follow the link to read more about how New Zealand can take a leading role in the growing healthtech space.
We touched down in Dubai this week as part of GITEX Global – one of the largest annual consumer computer and electronics trade shows, being hosted at the Dubai World Trade Centre. GITEX features every major technology player, trend and vertical out there including smart cities, cybersecurity, the data economy, mobility, healthcare and telecoms. Exsurgo has been lucky enough to set up an exhibition to display our Axon headset for attendees to try out themselves. We're looking forward to engaging with the wider Dubai community and those visiting from around the world, so stay tuned for more content throughout the week.
Recently our CEO Richard Little spoke with the NZ Herald Great Minds and The Nutters Club NZ host, Hamish Williams about the astonishing connection between chronic pain and our mental health. Living with daily chronic pain is often physically stressful and emotionally draining. It can negatively impact our sleep, cause anxious thoughts about whether we can get through the day, and hold us back from doing the things we love most in life. In addition to reducing levels of chronic pain, our Axon headset has also helped many of our patients improve their quality of sleep, lower depression levels and reduce anxious thoughts. If you’re interested in listening to Richard and Hamish’s full conversation and to learn more about the mental health effects of chronic pain, please follow the link below.
Recent research uncovers that isolation felt by the sixth of New Zealanders with chronic pain is often made worse when doctors do not believe their pain and suffering. The study from Auckland University of Technology reveals that many chronic pain sufferers carry an invisible burden preventing them from receiving the sympathies or support that people with other conditions are given. Respondents share that hiding their pain only leads to weakening relationships with others and isolating themselves socially. "Though I live every day in pain, the world sees a fit and healthy 29-year-old man and expects me to behave as such. I feel the frustration of going through life with an invisible handicap."
When we're feeling down, we're often told we should reconnect with friends and loved ones. Why does spending quality time with loved ones make such a difference to our mental wellbeing? Our brains are wired for social connection, says social psychologist and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman. Just as we have a basic need for food and shelter, we also have the need to belong to a group and form relationships. When we aren't doing anything, our brain automatically falls into a neural configuration called the "default network". This brain configuration is almost identical to the one used for social thinking or making sense of other people and ourselves. In other words, our default state of mind is to be social. So the next time you're forced to choose between working late or joining your family for dinner, remind yourself that you're a social creature designed to connect with the people around you. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek