Virtual clinic teaches the brain to unlearn chronic pain

For serial entrepreneur Mika Marjalaakso, chronic pain is a sadly familiar phenomenon.

‘For 18 years, I have had continuous chronic pain in my face and head, in my lower back, and now in my shoulders as well, and this has significantly impaired my quality of life. During these years, I have read around 15 000 scientific articles on the subject, and that is how I learnt about the pioneering basic research of Professor Vania Apkarian, who for thirty years has been investigating what chronic pain actually is,’ Marjalaakso explains.

Marjalaakso has not been alone with his pain, as chronic pain is a huge socio-economic problem worldwide. For example, in the United States alone more than 100 million people suffer from it – a third of the population. According to Marjalaakso, this figure underscores the fact that the current forms of treatment do not work. For this reason, he founded Aivo Health, Inc., which aims to alleviate pain by means of a virtual clinic provided through a mobile device.

‘When the pain becomes chronic, a change takes place in the brain. Our virtual clinic is based on emotional learning, in which the brain is taught to unlearn the learning disorder. We are applying pioneering scientific findings and the latest machine learning, which together make it possible to treat chronic pain in a personalised way,’ Marjalaakso explains.

Aivo Health, Inc. has been one of Aalto Startup Center’s growth companies since autumn 2018.

‘Aalto Startup Center is a dynamic community in which the information acquisition tools and advisory facilities are top class. We will graduate from the business accelerator this autumn and try to find our own premises as close as possible, as Otaniemi is a great location,’ Marjalaakso adds.

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