CereScan CEO John Kelley: How we use advanced brain imaging
We’re arguably the leading brain diagnostics company in the country. CereScan combines valuable patient information – such as clinical history, symptomology, neuropsych evaluations, functional imaging and more – to provide a detailed report of what’s happening inside a patient’s brain to assist their doctors in a targeted treatment plan.
We have imaging, but we’re more than an imaging company.
- People know about MRI, CT, and SPECT, and PET. All of those acronyms are about machines, but those machines kick out information in the form of imaging or things people might call X-rays. And when you have imaging to be able to look and see what’s wrong inside of the brain, you then have the ability to start correlating that to life events, to pharmaceuticals, to genetic predisposition for certain conditions, and more. So, we start combining all that information, and it’s been available for a number of years and in each of those categories.
- The kinds of information we will get out of cameras start approaching millions of data points per brain. When we are able to combine that with data around pharmaceutical usage, blood types, proteins that might be in the blood, genetic information, and testing data, we’re combining millions of pieces of information. Being able to correlate all that information to see if there is commonality across all of those data elements is truly a supercomputing capability that we possess today.
Information and data by itself doesn’t mean much.
- Unless you can get intelligence out of it.
- So just having a lot of data is nice, but you really want to have systems that can pull out some intelligence and provide the information to the doctor or to the parent. Then, they can take that data, convert it in intelligence and do something actionable.
Is CereScan a place I should go?
- The brain is really a sophisticated organ as we all know. It’s arguably the most powerful known computer in the universe. With that, comes complications and for people who are looking for solutions to problems, how do you fix a problem if you don’t know what it is?
- Our main mission is to go out and help doctors figure out what are the most likely issues that do exist, and there could be more than one.
- You could have more than one thing wrong. If you know what those are, then you have a chance to go back and try things that are proven scientifically to be able to fix a problem.
- We’re really a quality of life company. Can we help medical professionals, family members, set up a scenario where a patient suffering from brain disorders can have a quality of life that is back to what they used to have before something may have occurred or in fact, give quality of life before a disease takes over? And an example of that would be Alzheimer’s.
- Go to our website, which is www.cerescan.com. It is a very informative website with short videos that do address things like traumatic brain injury, toxic poisonings, and get into suicides, ADHD and bipolar.
Returning soldiers that may have some form of brain injury from a combination of things.
- When you think of traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic brain injury, it is generally related to concussion events where the brain sustains damage and doesn’t seem to repair fully.
- When you think of PTSD, it is generally attributed to psychiatric set of conditions that can result from stress of deployment, so on and so forth.
- Then we’re running into a new area that is as alarmingly and more prevalent than what anyone thought and that is around toxic poisonings.
- We are seeing high correlations related to PTSD and TBI among military people who were involved with burn pits or may have been in the Warrant Officer helicopter area, where kerosene fumes come back into the aircraft itself; or folks who are doing plastic explosives or handheld devices that kick out propellants.
- In fact, the brains of our military personnel are being basically poisoned over time in an environment where those chemicals get inside the brain and tend to lodge in there permanently and create very psychiatric-like symptoms.
Why doesn’t everybody know about CereScan?
- We’re a small company, so we have all the challenges of a small company of getting that message out.
How do I get to the CereScan locations?
- We started in Denver and now expanded to Southern California, most of the central part of Texas: Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi; we’re in New Orleans, we’re in Naples, Florida, we are in Chicago, and we’re in Alabama.
How do you see CereScan over the next four or five years interfacing with providing data perhaps that will start to attack those problems?
- Ohio State University, and their bioinformatics group has teamed up with us; a group that supports the Department of Defense, and particularly through the three-letter agencies, has teamed up with a six-month effort to do data analytics.
- The objective is to get this propagated into facilities around the country so that everyone has an opportunity to avail themselves on what we do and that we’re getting the best in other ancillary or adjacent companies that can propel it forward.
- An example of that would be getting DNA information.
- It would also be proteomics, meaning what proteins are in your blood? A simple example would be: if I have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s, I’m showing from a testing perspective that I’ve got cognitive decline in an area. Or, let’s say you’re having a hard time with mathematics — remembering some numbers — and we’re showing from the image that you’ve got decline in functionality in that area and then you’ve got a protein that’s associated with Alzheimer’s.
- You now would have five data points that would give a doctor a fairly strong opinion that you’re on a downward slope in this very nasty dementia. So having that early, then what can you do about it?
How does CereScan interface with the legal community?
- If you think about the rich data that we’ve produced and because it’s done so consistently, in a very objective way, in a supercomputing environment, the objectivity of that is appreciated in the legal community by both sides of litigation, the judges themselves and the juries.
- When a person has a legal case, we provide objective data for both sides to be able to analyze as to whether or not there are issues.
We are able to see, very clearly, that we can make a difference in people’s lives.
- We’re already starting to show patterns in the brain, combined with prior life experiences, prior to pharmaceutical, illegal or legal drug usage to show patterns that start being somewhat predictive of a doctor looking and saying, “This is a bad path. We need to change this formula that we’re doing here, because others have gone down this path and it’s not been good.”
- So that data side of it that we have, which flows into my background, ends up teaming up and making a difference in lives. And for the military, where you have 22 suicides a day, and there are a heck of a lot more if you include civilian population, how would you like to be part of a group that can start really truly giving doctors and caregivers the ability to stop and preclude suicide? That’s huge.
If you’re a physician, how would you recommend a physician start to assimilate some of the information?
- I’d like to have the physician come in through the web portal and if I’m a physician, I want to talk to the doctor, I want to hear another opinion.
- We have six top-tier nuclear med docs, neuro radiologists, radiologists, who are happy to share their experiences in what they’re seeing. They do doc-to-doc consultations.
- After CereScan gets all this data and information and predictive analytics, then the doctors, who interpret the scans and data, can do consults with the pediatrician, the DO, the psychiatrist, the neurologist and so on.
- For the athlete that’s out there, don’t lose hope and the reason why I say that is look what happens with stroke victims.
- In concussion, the brain’s parts are not dead. They’re not performing well because they’re getting lack of blood flow. There’s been compromises of the grey matter, but it’s not dead. In the case of strokes, the areas are generally dead.
- When you go to concussion protocol, what do you see? Flash cards, exercise, all sorts of touch, feel, motion skills are retraining the brain. Retraining it, rerouting neuron pathing.
- We see that with Representative Gifford and I think she’s a poster person for that.
- If we can work with stroke people who have dead matter, could we, in fact, work with areas that are under performing because of repeated concussion dynamics.
- I think the answer is unequivocally, yes.
CereMetrix, what is it?
- A data analytics platform for healthcare professionals
- Every time a patient came in, we kept adding that to our database. So a person comes in, hopefully, something great happened in terms of diagnosis and treatment, then the next one came in, the next one came in, and before you know it, we had over 4,000 patients and their medical data in our database.
- The aggregate information is proving to be equal to or more powerful than the individual medical care or medical diagnosis we gave to the patient.
- The patient coming in, you know, wants to know about themselves. You know, what can they do with their mom or dad? However, if we get thousands of those patients, now there may be patterns that can help with the diagnosis more rapidly and be able to kind of feather out or tease out unusual things.
- I think it’s critical that you have a great relationship with your treating doctor or member and that their doctor spends time, in depth, asking the kinds of questions, asking the dynamics around the concussion, asking about life experiences and infection.