Disclaimer: This is transcribed using AI. Expect (funny) errors.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:00] I’m Mindy Peterson, and this is Enhance Life with Music, a holistic look at the power of music in our everyday lives. My guest today is joining me from across the pond in England through the wonders of technology. Gary Jones is an award winning product entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in content management and music. Gary has worked on projects for companies including Sony, Intel, Yahoo, and News International. He is the CEO and co-founder of MediMusic, a British health tech startup that uses scientific research to unlock music’s transformative medical benefits. Welcome to enhance life with music, Gary.
Gary Jones: [00:00:43] Thank you. And it’s very kind of you to me, Gary.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:46] As you know, I read a recent article about MediMusic and its new device that reduces pain and anxiety in patients using a digital drip to administer calming music. I found this absolutely brilliant. I immediately contacted you, and I’m thrilled to have you on the show today to tell us about this exciting new product and the technology behind it. Let’s start by having you explain what the MediBeat product is. Give us your elevator pitch and then we’ll dive into some more details on how it works and what the results of the clinical trials have been and so forth. So tell us your overview of what the MediBeat product is like.
Gary Jones: [00:01:25] So MediBeat is a player and heart rate monitor that connects to the metal music service and MedImmune that uses digital fingerprinting, artificial intelligence and machine learning, suspense music, medicine to the benefit of anxiety, stress and pain relief. And at the same time, we provide an evidence based screen that shows metrics that will cost savings where applicable for health care services.
Mindy Peterson: [00:01:50] And this screen is that saving all of these results or two health care workers have to be right there in the moment observing what’s happening.
Gary Jones: [00:01:58] Know it very much saves them. So the idea is that over a period of time, as the service gets more and more used, the artificial intelligence machine learning part of the service refines it and actually displays the refinement as well. So it’s very much a KPI indicated they can work. They’ll be able to create reports off the back of it. And in those instances where maybe they’re entering the cost of analogy’s, we’ll be able to show the savings as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:02:23] Ok, and when you say KPI, what does that mean for
Gary Jones: [00:02:26] The performance indicators? So it’s just just metrics where you just just statistics that show the benefit of the service not only to not only to the health care worker, obviously, but also to the sort of quality of life benefit to the end user as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:02:38] And you found that the use of music in treating anxiety and pain in this way can reduce the use of drugs, in treating anxiety and pain in patients by up to 25 percent.
Gary Jones: [00:02:50] So there are a number of studies that twenty five thousand papers show, you know, on PubMed, look at the benefits of music to health stuff about 40 years and all the great things of all time, from Confucius through to Plato and Tolstoy and Martin Luther King and so on and so forth, all extolled the benefits of music to health. And we will self medicate music. And these studies on PubMed show quite clearly that there is quite a potentially large savings to be made from the use of music with anxiety, drugs and in reducing pain medication costs as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:03:23] And I’m just going to clarify for listeners and for myself, the MediBeat product. You said it’s a device and a heart rate monitor. So it’s a streaming device. Is it also your app or is this an app you can put on any device or is it a very specific device?
Gary Jones: [00:03:39] So we know we launched into Q3, Q4 this year with close trials at the moment. And the MediBeat device, which we’re working on the moment, is to specifically connect Directo services, the streaming device that has a a heart rate monitor and a heart rate variability monitoring as well. The HlV monitors are important because that’s a better indicator of stress. So that’s the sort of time lapse between each each heartbeat, as it were. And the reason we’ve done that is primarily because we all live in Aruba, connected world over connected world. And lastly, when you’re trying to relax and you’ve got an app on your smartphone, it’s to see an alert coming from Facebook or WhatsApp. So it’s kind of cool. There’s a movement in the US amongst manufacturers called Carnesecca. This is affecting what it is. You create the device specifically for that use, but we will provide a smartphone app as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:04:27] Really good point there. Well, the music that’s chosen is chosen to reduce heart rate and stress hormones like cortisol and promote hormones that are known for relaxation like dopamine and oxytocin. Exactly. OK, so the music is played through earphones. The MediBeat streaming device also. Is this part of that streaming process? The heart rate monitors worn on the wrist and the artificial intelligence is used to select the tracks that are played. And then. Responds according to what the heart rate and heart rate change is measured, is that right?
Gary Jones: [00:05:07] Exactly. So. So what happens is that you listen to the heart rate has been recorded and we know and obviously over a period of time for the want of a better expression, the energy or the perceived. Yeah, the perceived energy. The track reduces over the platelets over a period of time. And the maximum sort of places like this has been proven in research to be about 25 minutes to get the best benefit for pain and anxiety reduction. So in that 25 minute period, we know how someone’s heart rate should respond. And if it doesn’t respond as predicted, then the artificial intelligence and machine learning will dynamically that the following track sites to get the heart rate done either faster or slower. And then that’s then recorded by the machine. And then I process for future reference and overall refinement of the services as more uses come on and possibly the same track, we think attraction respond a certain way. And at historically the usage shows that it doesn’t. Then it’s less likely to get used because of machine learning won’t suggest it. It’s like it’s like a very big, complicated trial, I suppose.
Mindy Peterson: [00:06:07] Sure. The the wrist heart rate monitor obviously is tracking the heart rate. How do you track some of those other stress hormones and relaxation hormones like cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin?
Gary Jones: [00:06:19] The production of cortisol is is dynamically linked with heart rate. So the higher the cortisol production in essence, and then obviously you ask any physiologist, they’ll tell you that cortisol reduces, then, you know, it’s more oxytocin. And then you go with and again, there are lots of studies that show music increases. Dopamine in Cambridge University did one a couple of years ago that showed it could be up to nine percent, which is quite significant.
Mindy Peterson: [00:06:44] So all of that information can sort of be extrapolated from just that heart rate.
Gary Jones: [00:06:49] Yeah. Now, moving forward, I mean, we’re moving into a world where obviously wearables are changing and improving on a day by day basis. And we’re aware of a couple that are in production at the moment that will measure courses using a wearable one that really is kind of the Holy Grail, because once you know, you’re actually reducing cortisol in real time, then you’re definitely on to win it. But at the moment is to a large extent, it’s relying on science, which is which is what it should be, evidence based science. But actually to prove it in real time would be fantastic.
Mindy Peterson: [00:07:18] Tell us about some of the different applications and contexts that maybe can be used for in terms of postop preop, dentistry. Tell us about some of those different contexts.
Mindy Peterson: [00:09:08] Oh, OK, that makes sense. I’ve actually had another guest on the show who is talking about a subject completely unrelated to dental anxiety and for her coda at the end, she brought up how she had just recently had dental surgery and she has severe dental anxiety and her sort of her solution for managing and coping with a surgery that she had to have was she found the most calming song ever online. And and there’s like a six hour track of it that you can download. And so she listened to it. I can’t remember the name of the Afghan, but that’s interesting that you mentioned dentistry and when you were talking about.
Gary Jones: [00:09:48] Go ahead. I was going to say it’s a huge it’s a huge area. Thirty six percent of the UK population suffered from dental anxiety, which is quite large.
Mindy Peterson: [00:09:56] Yeah, well, and when you mentioned motivation and the. Use of this application in motivation, I’m thinking physical therapy and rehab, I mean, boy, those people need motivation because you know how frustrating oftentimes that process is, because you’re trying to do things that you know, you want your body to do. You used to be able to do it and you can’t quite get those limbs to do what you’re telling them to do. And so I can imagine that the music and this medical product would really be helpful in that situation. And then also in situations with chronic pain, too.
Gary Jones: [00:10:29] Yeah, well, without the chronic pain, we’re doing a study with Lancashire NHS Trust in the UK looking at reducing opiate usage or at least delaying opiate usage as a result of using music to to treat chronic pain. And with that, we’ve obviously built into the pain scale. So at the beginning, someone could say how much pain they’re in. At the end, they can then say what pain they think they’re in. There’s also a Q&A within the app that says, you know what? What’s your goal for the day? So the goal might be to do three hours gardening, which they couldn’t do before. Have they achieved that? So on and so forth. And that’s very much what what we’re looking to do is broaden. It’s not just about music collecting the data, refining. It is dependent upon using these paint scales and using allsorts scales. You know, the dental anxiety scale, for example, is another one. And we’re looking to work with music therapists at the moment just over the consultative process with music therapists in the UK and extending it to the US to see what other features and functionality music therapists would like within the app to enable them to use it and sort of deliver a broader post clinical session data, if you like, and benefit. Well, in
Mindy Peterson: [00:11:32] All of these applications and contexts that you’re talking about with using, might it be spill over into quality of life issues, too? I mean, it’s not just about reducing pain and anxiety, but, boy, if somebody can get back to a hobby that they love with gardening, you know, just just that distraction and that joy and that pleasure they get from that is going to really significantly affect their perception of pain. You had mentioned opiates a moment ago, and that, to me, is another huge benefit of anything that’s non pharmacological. I mean, there’s no side effects and risks. There’s no indications it’s not addictive. And I talk in the show a lot about the holistic power of music, but I’m also a huge fan of holistic medicine and health and wellbeing. And any time you can reduce our dependence on drugs that have those side effects and risks, boy, huge, huge. Plus and win for everybody.
Gary Jones: [00:12:27] Yeah. No, Amusa is I mean, a lot of people see it as art, but it’s actually a combination of multiple sciences, the whole consumption process as well. So it’s maths and physics without which it wouldn’t exist. And then we look at psychology and sociology that dictates the music we consume and kind of what we like and our life, lifetime involvement or engagement with music. And then you’ve got this effect which is determined by physiology and neurology. So it’s actually using music is actually a very complex process. And the brain, as I’m sure you know, responsible parts of the brain respond to music than any other stimulus. So and we’re using it. We use the anxiety with front line workers at the moment. Again, electronic chiasmus, what we’re dealing with covid, we’re running a trial at the moment that looks at reducing anxiety. So I think they’re in the front line and they take a half hour break. They come out, they pick up the smartphone and they listen to a playlist that we built specifically all that’s been built for them, specifically on the fly. And you know that those results will hopefully be out about six to eight weeks time.
Mindy Peterson: [00:13:27] Yeah, that’s fantastic that it’s working so well with patients in those initial trials that the health care workers are able to start utilizing that, too, and hopefully have some results soon because, yeah, we’re seeing that everywhere across the world with this pandemic, that the stress levels of health care workers are just sky
Gary Jones: [00:13:43] Through the roof, through the roof. We’re seeing higher rate reductions of around sort of twenty two to twenty five percent, well, twenty five percent this week. So they are statistically significant at that level. We know that, you know, what we’re doing is working. We will release the data soon, but as soon as we’ve got the analysis done by the universities
Mindy Peterson: [00:14:01] And that 22 percent reduction in heart rate is that in the health care workers? Is that in patients who are using this in clinical trials?
Gary Jones: [00:14:10] Yeah, it’s a mix. So we’ve seen we’ve said across across a mix of the service, all the trials that were running so well. One in particular is an interesting one to sundowning dementia. So sundowning dementia is a very hard to manage from a traditional nursing intervention, traditional nursing intervention with sundowning. Very well. And just
Mindy Peterson: [00:14:30] Real quick to listeners, what that is for people who might not be familiar with sundowning,
Gary Jones: [00:14:34] Sundowning generally presents itself as a moment of anxiety or prolonged anxiety towards the end of the day, with a dementia patient, that’s the word sundeen. And it’s quite traumatic for the for the patient with dementia sufferer, the person with dementia and traumatic for the staff as well, because it’s hard to manage. And that can mean at times when they’re going through what they call personal hygiene. So getting ready for bed or. Suppertime or tea time or anything like that. It’s a complicated process to manage when you’ve got three or four patients, as I recently witnessed in a care home, experiencing anxiety as a result of sundowning. But what we’ve shown is that actually we get a hundred percent success rate sundowning at the moment. So we’re very pleased with that.
Mindy Peterson: [00:15:18] And when you say 100 percent success, is that measured by the heart rate reduction by a certain percentage?
Gary Jones: [00:15:24] Yeah, well, it’s and visually so this is very much the calming of the anxiety. So it’s obviously a visual recording as well by the nursing staff as much as the electronic recording of heart rate. So we’re saying we’re getting reports back saying people are relaxing. The least is being about an hour. But again, it can be two, three, four hours or right through when they fall asleep
Mindy Peterson: [00:15:45] In terms of how long the effect lasts. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So when you said the nurse’s feedback, the device is taking feedback through the rest monitor the heart rate monitor. And then is it also taking inputs from health care workers in terms of observing?
Gary Jones: [00:16:03] Yeah, we’re taking up so that we’re collecting observational data as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:16:07] Ok, and I imagine that’s on several different points in terms of the stress level that they’re observing the cooperation.
Gary Jones: [00:16:16] Ok, and it’s set up by the sort of lead clinician that’s or our lead specialists from how universities actually determining what the questions are, what the response is.
Mindy Peterson: [00:16:27] Well, one thing that I want to point out to is with this artificial intelligence and the machine learning, if that heart rate is not responding as expected, we touched on this earlier, but the machine will swap out to other songs. And it’s all sort of related to this digital fingerprint of the DNA, of music. You mentioned mathematics before and how music is a it’s math that science disciplines. Tell us about how this digital fingerprint takes place. We talked in several episodes on the show about different ways music can be identified and classified. We’ve actually talked to Dr. Nolan Gasser, who’s the chief architect of Pandoras Music Genome Project. I include links in the show, notes of those episodes for listeners who are interested. But talk to us about your process of identifying the DNA of a piece of music.
Gary Jones: [00:17:19] So there are several parts to it. So when we digitally fingerprint, we’re able to build from some simple data, either by connecting with the use of Spotify kind and looking at their play history and and their genres, or possibly looking at just their age and the kind of algorithms that power that which are based on sociological physiological studies of how we consume and listen to music through our lives. We’re able to build initially a play of a pool of about 500 tracks from which the playlist built at the tracks themselves digitally fingerprinted. The way we do that as we effectively mimic the human brains response to music so we know the auditory cortex listens to or is responsible processing tone. For example, in the hippocampus memory, the base of the brain is music sort of power for want of a better expression. So you take the constituent parts of a piece of music to be tomber that would be dynamic range that might be onset and offset when someone plays a keyboard and then let it go. Just kind of the Stapley effects of music are all those contribute to how we interpret it or how the brain processes and says this music is full of energy. It’s not full of energy, it’s full of less energy than the one before, and so on and so forth and musical keys. And so there’s a whole there’s a whole myriad of potential combinations there and using sort of the basis of research that’s gone on for years. And our research and and the great scientists that we have on our advisory panel, we are able to fingerprint the piece of music. So we look at different frequencies. We look at its tempo, we look at its musical key. We look at the relationship between the frequencies. We look at the melody, for example. So we do computational melody analysis, so on and so forth. And that enables us to attach a score to each one of those component parts. And then how they used in the fingerprint depends on the age of the person, the gender and even things like that, their ethnicity and so on and so forth.
Mindy Peterson: [00:19:13] And those are factors that are given to the device when they first start to use it to help narrow down and get sort of a starting place for which those 500 tracks to start with.
Gary Jones: [00:19:24] Exactly. And using dementia as a simple example and use given a high level view, most cast-off is do not know the musical fabric of a dementia patient’s life. The dementia patient obviously doesn’t because they can’t remember most cases. And quite significantly and quite amazing, they know that a lot of the families. So we built something. Yeah, yeah. I was I was absolutely amazed, absolutely amazed at it. I mean, some obviously do. And then you’ve got musicians, whether how a musician listens to a piece of music is different town or not musician one, not surprisingly. But yeah, I was. I was actually amazed at basically what we’ve done, as I said, we’ve analyzed the various psychological sociological studies that enable us from, say, two pieces of data, such as dates of birth and gender, to put together a pretty accurate playlist as a starting point.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:17] Have you gotten any information back yet in terms of how accurate that starting point is? Like, can you see why? You know, we started the starting point and most of the time we don’t really need to devote a whole lot from that or we start from the starting point. And, you know, there’s there’s huge deviations,
Gary Jones: [00:20:34] Depends on the case. So someone’s a specifiers. There will be deviations, but then we’re putting their playtest history anyway. So that doesn’t matter so much. But certainly certainly in the case of those that don’t have Spotfire cancer and dementia, we estimate this is an estimate we’re getting so that it’s not just a percent accuracy.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:53] Oh, wow. Interesting. Talk to us a little bit about the clinical trial results. You already mentioned a couple really interesting statistics about the 22 percent reduction in heart rate. Talk to us some more about what you’re finding in terms of efficacy of this product and then also the cost reduction that you’re seeing,
Gary Jones: [00:21:12] Efficacy we’ve not really had a problem with, I think, where we are with covid, what’s happening covid and the fact that music has been around for so long. There are a surprisingly large number of health care clinicians, consultants and doctors out there that understand the benefit of music to health. The problem is, as I’ve said previously, is that a lot of people view it as an art form and it’s kind of getting over that barrier to reinforce the financially. It’s it’s a collection of sciences and it’s a very strong collection of sciences as well, as you said, and it’s transformative. So we don’t have any problem that because all we’re saying is that many Big Pharma big devices finish, which will be about six weeks time, which is due to some refinements at the moment, and we’ll be going to the FDA for approval. And that we’ve had input from from our trials in terms of the functionality and so on and so forth. We’ve obviously got the kind of screens that sort of feature functionality side with music therapy is more software based on that. And that sort of approval will come after that.
Mindy Peterson: [00:22:09] Ok, and in terms of medication cost savings, do you have any initial estimates on that?
Gary Jones: [00:22:15] Not at this moment, no. We’re still waiting for the trial date to come back, but we expect it with pain, pain reduction somewhat to be around nine, 18, 19 percent reduction in analgesics and higher with anxiety drugs. But we will publish that data.
Mindy Peterson: [00:22:31] And did you say six weeks is when you’re expecting to have more of that preliminary
Gary Jones: [00:22:35] Enough to be able to probably speak about it quite, quite openly? Yeah, OK. Well, provided, of course, we don’t get another covid epidemic, which is actually what it’s starting to look like a with the variance that that’s caused us a number of problems, obviously, because the focus on that, I’m sure.
Mindy Peterson: [00:22:51] Anything else you can tell us about this whole trial and approval process where you are in it? I’m sure it’s a little bit different in the UK than it is here in the U.S..
Gary Jones: [00:23:00] Yeah, it is. I mean, we’ve spoken with Harvard in Boston, a couple of hospitals that so the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston and the Tufts Medical Center, there’s a there are a couple of people there that would interested doing a trial, the US office in Boston and about six weeks time as well. We just got lawyers going through the process at the moment. And the US for us is as a very important market.
Mindy Peterson: [00:23:22] Can you tell us the story of how many music came to be? I saw in your bio that you are also a musician. You’ve sold pieces of work for commercials. Yeah, you got some some background, quite a bit of background in music yourself. How did music come to be?
Gary Jones: [00:23:35] So I worked in the music business in my 20s. I won’t tell you my age now. I’ll give it away. I worked music in my 20s and I’ve come from a musical family. My grandfather could play 50 music instruments proficiently without any training and it’s a very musical family. So I kind of got involved in music and in an early stage in my life. And I worked on record labels in the UK and the US and I write. I try to be honest, I’m not time to do anything for quite some time. But I was selling pieces of music about five or six years ago and about that time I went to work for a company called Abilify, which is the biggest wholesale distributor of music streaming music, and our clients included Sirius XM and Sony. And I ran Sony Music Unlimited service across 19 territories for about three years. I looked after Neil Young’s Postal Service and that was kind of what my I always had an interest in the benefits of music to health because, as I said, we’ve all self medicate music and approaching it from a songwriter point of view.
Mindy Peterson: [00:24:28] Mm hmm. So how did you start writing music?
Gary Jones: [00:24:32] Yes, sorry. I was say, I came across Queen Mary University in London who had produced the plug ins, which are algorithms that what they call music information retrieval algorithms that extract parts so Teppo and Key and so forth from a piece of digital music. I just thought, well, actually, if we can do that properly, we can mimic the brain’s response to music. And I had had, as I said, an interest in the benefits of music to then maybe we could do something. And it’s been at the time it was. The algorithms weren’t refined enough. The market wasn’t ready for it, but we covered a few of the things that happened is change that we’re not going to be a huge amount of interest, not just from the UK, but from the UAE, from Australia and Asia as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:13] Wonderful. Well, I will really look forward to seeing the results of those clinical trials and hope that this can be something. Yeah, something that’s hopefully soon widely available.
Gary Jones: [00:25:24] Well, yes. So just. Yeah, I was just going to say, in terms of our next step, something which, as I said, when these closed clinical trials at the moment, the data will be forthcoming. We’ve got the NHS and FDA approval, which on a around at the moment just finished off from that. We’ll complete 36 algorithms and launch in November, October this year as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:45] This has been fascinating. I look forward to learning more. I will have you close out our conversation with our musical ending, a Coda. I ask all guests to do this by sharing a song or story about a moment that music enhanced your life. Do you have a song or a story that you can share with us in closing today?
Gary Jones: [00:26:04] I think I was trying to think about my music. My music is so eclectic. I guess Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was the one that really started my musical journey. And in terms of the story, I guess it was a friend of mine. His mother has dementia and vascular dementia. She was always extremely agitated and upset. And my very first lady music played. Just check it out. The algorithms that I wrote, I used on her. And the big thing that came out of it is not only did she come down, but started to sing along with her husband as well, who had immense difficulty relating to it in a dementia state. So it was fantastic. The interaction of his face, the joy on his face, as I said, is something I will never forget.
Transcribed by Sonix.ai