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Introducing The Sync Project, a Global Collaboration Harnessing the Scientific Potential of Music for Health

BOSTON, March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sync Project™ today announced the launch of its platform to scientifically measure and harness music to improve health. The platform maps music characteristics to real-time biometrics and objective measurements of physiology, enabling the study of the therapeutic effect of music at scale in large populations. It is designed for medical and health research, helping scientists, technologists and clinicians perform rigorous studies and accelerate the discovery of the clinical applications of music via solid scientific validation. 

"People have always responded to music. Not just emotionally, but biologically," said Alexis Kopikis, Co-founder and CEO of The Sync Project. "Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the human brain. What scientists, engineers and clinicians want to understand is: how? How does music do that? If music can reach us physically, and we could find a way of decoding what music does, could we use music to improve health? We believe we can. And that's why we started The Sync Project."

"PureTech has several neuroscience related initiatives, in areas such as memory, cognition, and psychiatric disorders," said PureTech CEO and Sync Project Co-founder, Daphne Zohar. "There was intriguing research from McGill and other universities that showed that music can modulate neural systems like the dopamine response, autonomic nervous system, and others that are related to emotional processing and stress, for example."

The PureTech team did an extensive review of the scientific literature to support therapeutic use of music for different populations, and found that there was a mountain of research showing beneficial effects of music in specific conditions like pain and fatigue. While the overall evidence generally pointed toward positive effects of music across other conditions, some of the studies were not as well designed and lacked important controls.

"We realized there was a need for more rigorous studies in multiple contexts and populations," said Zohar. "Researchers lacked the tools necessary to conduct studies at scale. The Sync Project provides a platform that could enable a whole community of researchers and clinicians to run better studies and to discover the therapeutic characteristics of music in their conditions of interest."  

"The Sync Project gives us the potential to combine advancements in the understanding of musical attributes with the explosion of health data from devices," said Tristan Jehan, Founding CTO of The Echo Nest (Spotify) and Advisor to The Sync Project. "The ability to use machine learning to actually pinpoint the therapeutic effect of music and potentially have an impact on millions of people is tremendously exciting."

"Our goal is ambitious," said Kopikis. "That is why we created The Sync Project as a global collaboration with passionate and visionary minds in science, music, health and technology."

The Sync Project platform is currently available to researchers, clinical collaborators and other partners.

About The Sync Project
The Sync Project was founded by PureTech.  Advisors include Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, Robert Zatorre, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University,  Tristan Jehan, Founding CTO of The Echo Nest (Spotify), Marko Ahtisaari, Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and  former Head of Product design at Nokia,  Hugh Forrest, Director at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival, and Adam Gazzaley, Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center and Professor of Physiology, Psychology and Psychiatry at UCSF. The Sync Project is developing a platform to scientifically measure and study the effects of music on our health in areas like sleep, cognition, motor coordination and speech development. The goal is to collect and correlate real-time biometric data and music, so that we can pinpoint and understand the health properties of music.

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About PureTech
PureTech is a scientifically driven research and development company that conceptualizes, sources, and validates unexpected and potentially disruptive approaches to advance the needs of human health. Based in Boston, PureTech has an outstanding team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, with connections to top tier academic institutions. PureTech has a thematic, problem-driven approach to developing its innovations, proposing non-obvious solutions rooted in academic research and developing them together with a creative group of cross-disciplinary experts. PureTech concentrates on a handful of major initiative areas at a time, generates and proactively identifies and reviews more than 650 technologies per year, and seeks to select only the most technologically and commercially promising concepts to advance. PureTech has active strategic partnerships with forward thinking health and technology companies.

The Sync Project and The Sync Project logo are trademarks of The Sync Project.

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