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Samphire Neuroscience Innovates Brain-Stimulating Wearable for Period Pain Relief

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 7, 2024
Samphire Neuroscience Innovates Brain-Stimulating Wearable for Period Pain Relief

Samphire Neuroscience has introduced Nettle, a pioneering wearable device designed to alleviate period pain and mood disorders associated with the menstrual cycle. This innovative solution offers hope for millions of menstruating individuals who experience debilitating symptoms each month, presenting a drug-free alternative to conventional treatments.

For many women, menstrual pain is a monthly reality, often managed with painkillers or traditional remedies like hot water bottles. However, for some, the pain is severe enough to disrupt daily activities, leading to days spent in bed waiting for relief. In addition to physical discomfort, mood swings and emotional sensitivity, characteristic of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), can further exacerbate the challenges faced by individuals during their menstrual cycles. Existing treatment options are limited, with hormonal birth control being a common but not always suitable solution due to associated risks.

Recognizing the need for more effective and holistic approaches to women’s health, Samphire Neuroscience has developed Nettle, a wearable device that harnesses the power of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). By applying low electrical currents to specific regions of the brain associated with pain perception and mood regulation, Nettle aims to reduce sensitivity to pain and alleviate mood symptoms.

Behind Nettle

The technology behind Nettle is grounded in the concept of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize synaptic connections in response to stimulation. Samphire Neuroscience’s approach targets the menstrual cycle’s luteal phase, a period characterized by fluctuating hormone levels that can influence mood, energy levels, and pain perception. By stimulating the brain during this phase, Nettle seeks to optimize pain relief and mood stabilization for users.

The wearable device, resembling a sleek headband, is designed for ease of use and comfort. Users wear Nettle for treatment sessions over several days leading up to their period, allowing for proactive management of symptoms. The device delivers targeted electrical currents to the motor cortex, involved in pain perception, and the prefrontal cortex, responsible for mood regulation, addressing both physical and psychological aspects of menstrual symptoms.

While brain stimulation technology has been explored for various medical conditions, Samphire’s focus on women’s health sets it apart. Unlike similar devices targeting depression in both sexes, Nettle specifically caters to women, recognizing the interconnectedness of mood and pain during menstruation. Clinical trials conducted by Samphire Neuroscience have shown promising results with Nettle:

  • Participants experienced significant reductions in pain intensity and mood disturbances with Nettle.
  • Pain intensity decreased by an average of 52% during the menstrual cycle when using the active device.
  • Users reported continued pain reduction in the following month, indicating sustained benefits.
  • Those who used the active intervention had lighter periods the following month, demonstrating additional positive effects.
  • Mild side effects such as itching and tingling were common initially but diminished over time.
  • Some participants experienced transient migraines, which dissipated within 30 minutes.

The company’s co-founder and CEO, Emilé Radytė, emphasizes the importance of addressing both physical and psychological aspects of menstrual health, highlighting the interconnected nature of mood and pain perception.

Drawing on her background in neuroscience, Radytė envisions brain stimulation devices as a future-oriented approach to managing chronic conditions without relying solely on medication. Samphire Neuroscience aims to fill the innovation gap in women’s health with Nettle as the first of many products targeting specific needs such as insomnia and the perimenopause.

While awaiting regulatory approval, the company plans to offer Nettle directly to consumers, bypassing the need for prescriptions. This approach reflects a growing trend in women’s health startups to provide accessible and tailored solutions outside traditional healthcare systems. By integrating technology with user-friendly design and rigorous scientific research, Samphire Neuroscience aims to empower women to take control of their health proactively.

Vision for the Future

As the demand for innovative women’s health solutions continues to grow, Nettle represents a significant step forward in addressing the diverse needs of menstruating individuals. With a focus on safety, efficacy, and accessibility, Samphire Neuroscience is poised to revolutionize the way we approach menstrual health and wellness.

In addition to its clinical trial results, Samphire Neuroscience has secured early investments totaling $2.3 million, enabling the company to advance its research and development efforts. The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its focus on accommodating various hair types and ethnicities in product design and testing.

In the initial phase, Samphire Neuroscience will concentrate on selling its wearable devices throughout Europe, starting with an initial production run of 1,000 units to gauge market response. And then plan to expand its market reach beyond Europe, targeting the U.S. market in the coming years (estimating 1.5-2 years away). By obtaining regulatory approval and demonstrating the effectiveness of its approach from the FDA, the company aims to make Nettle accessible to menstruating individuals worldwide, offering relief and empowerment through innovative technology.


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Featured Image courtesy of rawpixel.com on Freepik

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.