Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #108 with Kelly Roman, the Co-Founder and CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories[i], an FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management (Circadia®).
Fisher Wallace has over 70,000 patients and 10,000 subscribers using their devices and has continued to run three sizable clinical trials during the pandemic, investigating how neurostimulation is a strong contender as a treatment for anxiety and depression compared to drug use.
Welcome to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast. My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately to take your results to the next level. I can’t tell you how excited I am to speak with Kelly Roman today, as we have been on the topic of mental health and well-being on this podcast for the past few months, because this is an area that most people are interested in these days. There’s a serious need here.
When I was covering the most important brain-health strategies, after watching the Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention Documentary[ii] last year, it became clear that sleep was one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of. I covered this last December with a review of these top 5 health staples[iii] where getting a good quality sleep was a staple that is shown as an Alzheimer’s prevention strategy.
When I was first introduced to Kelly Roman, and saw that the company he co-founded, Fisher Wallace Labs has created wearable devices to help improve sleep, while also treating anxiety and depression, I wanted to learn more. If you take one look at their website, you can see their appearance on the TV Show, the Drs. where a patient shares that she has been wearing the device for just a week, and is already sleeping better. The more I began to research this company, and their wearable devices, the more excited I became.
I started to think up what questions I would ask our guest, and wondered:
If these devices are helping people to improve sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression, what else could they possibly do?
Could a wearable device help to improve someone’s mood and consequently help someone who struggles with addiction to stay sober?
The questions could go on…let’s see what Kelly Roman, the co-founder of Fisher Wallace Laboratories has to say.
Welcome Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I’ve got to say that my mind was going 100 miles an hour when I was creating your questions. An FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management—we can go in so many directions here. But I’ve got to start with sleep--
Q1: We’ve created a clear case on this podcast over the past 6 months for the importance of getting a good night sleep as it’s one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of for Alzheimer’s Prevention. Can you explain what you are focused on at Fisher Wallace (wearable home use vs other forms- Electro Convulsive Therapy/Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) how do these devices work, and how does this improve someone’s sleep?
Q2: Kelly, my husband is a volunteer for the Maricopa Sheriff’s office here in Phoenix, he’s a commander for one volunteer units, and the stories I hear from those working in police/fire these days, it’s extremely stressful, and he lived in New Jersey, covering New York City for work, (where you live) and can deal with high stress situations. I saw a presentation you did for Brainstorm Health in 2019[iv] where you combined your technology with VR to help treat those with anxiety, insomnia or depression. Can you explain what the device is that I saw you present with VR, and how could it help people, like those in policing to increase their focus while reducing stress?
Q3: We know that anxiety and depression are at an all-time high these days, with the effects of the Pandemic, and how life has changed for many of us. How does your device help your body to release dopamine, serotonin and fall into a state of deep relaxation, with no drugs required?
Q4: What is the research saying about treatment like wearable devices for depression or anxiety vs drug use? I watched your interview with Luke Storey[v] where you give an incredible overview of the hurdles that you had to overcome with these “blockbuster anti-depressant drugs” like Prozac. What is the research showing now about these drugs and what they are doing to the body?
Q5: When we connected on LinkedIn, I had to check to see who we have in common. When I saw that we have Aneesh Chaudhry, who I launched the year with his interview on overcoming addiction[vi]—I had to wonder- Could a wearable device help to improve someone’s mood and consequently help someone who struggles with addiction to stay sober?
Q6: What is your 10-year vision for where these devices are going? Do you think we are moving towards where health care will cover them so that we could be prescribed them for lower cost?
Q7: Can this device help improve heart rate variability? (the measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat).
Kelly Roman, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, and for opening up my mind to the power behind wearable devices vs taking drugs for anxiety, insomnia or depression.
The Effectiveness of Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) for the Treatment of Pain, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD (Feb. 2018) Investigators: Paul Shekelle, MD, PhD, Ian Cook, MD, Isomi M Miake-Lye, PhD, Selene Mak, PhDc, Marika Suttorp Booth, MS, Roberta Shanman, MLS, and Jessica M Beroes, BS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493132/