Twelve teams participated in the first cohort of the accelerator. Four, including a team focused on providing early diagnosis of neurological disease and another revolutionizing the blood pressure cuff, received awards to help further their innovations.
Karen Fortuna, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Geisel School of Medicine, thinks of her dad when she considers the impact of her innovations in digital therapeutics.
Her father, Dave Fortuna, had a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, but he didn’t let it hold him back. Even as his health began to falter, he pursued his degree. He wanted to show Karen that he had no limitations and she shouldn’t either. Unfortunately, Dave died from complications of MS when he was only 52.
“That’s where the passion and the impetus for this work really came from,” Fortuna says. “Maybe the science wasn’t available then, but in his legacy I want to help and support other individuals with neurological disease so we can increase their lifespan and their quality of life as they age.”
Fortuna, along with undergraduate student Julia Hill D’24, aim to do just that through their venture, RealVision. RealVision is a mobile application that uses artificial intelligence to detect neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia up to six years before patients begin having overt symptoms.
“We’re really trying to push the limits about what we know about the early identification of disease,” Fortuna says.
Last month, RealVision was awarded the top prize—$30,000 in funding—as part of the inaugural cohort of the Dartmouth Innovation Accelerator for Digital Health (DIADH). The Accelerator, a partnership between the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health and The Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship supports promising innovations in digital health – the use of digital technology to better understand, prevent, treat or manage health conditions or diseases.