Cognision is a Louisville-based biotech company led by David Richardson (formerly of and The Learning House). The company has created an FDA-cleared. web-enabled portable headset system–COGNISION®that is used to identify and evaluate cognitive signals in the brain.

Louisville Future spoke with Chief Technology Officer and Founder KC Fadem about the how the company came to be and how the tech works.

Tell us about COGNISION®

Fadem: We have created a device that records brain activity while the person is performing a cognitive task. We can then evaluate that data and determine whether or not these people have some kind of neurological disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease, MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), or schizophrenia.

We can use these kinds of measures in studies determining what kind of drugs to use to treat these neurological disorders.

How did the company come about?

Fadem: We started the company based on some research that was going on at the University of Louisville. We knew we could take that academic exercise and commercialize it.

Dr. John Barker and I were partners in a medical incubator at the time at UofL. We learned about the concepts there and we built the technology and the products themselves. We did a few years of clinical studies starting in 2011, and we got the device cleared by the FDA in 2015.

Can you give me examples of the tech in use?

Fadem: Sure. Let’s say an elderly person is having some cognitive issues, they’re slowing down and thinking they may have some memory problems. It’s hard to tell the difference between natural aging issues and Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stages. We can run this test and help identify which it is. That way, the physician knows whether he’s dealing with Alzheimer’s or, for example, impairment due to depression, and treat accordingly.

Another example: Let’s say an athlete gets hit in a football game, suffers a mild concussion and goes unconscious for a few seconds. Our device can detect whether or not there’s an injury that might be problematic.

Who do you have on staff and who are your clients?

Fadem: Our staff consists of engineers, software developers and people who help us do the clinical studies. We got most of our talent locally.

We have two types of clients–physicians who treat patients and pharmaceutical companies that run clinical studies—and they’re located around the world.

What do you see for the company’s future?

Fadem: We’re going to keep expanding and introducing our product into different clinical areas.