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Pain relief project is powered by DreamFactory

Posted by Joshua Curry

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Tue, Nov 22, 2016

Tens of thousands of people affected by chronic pain could see long term relief with a new approach built with DreamFactory. Marc Mathys at the Department of Medical Psychology of Philipps-University of Marburg has created a device that measures the body’s response to pain and trains the nervous system to respond with natural relief.

Picture1-1.pngMathys has prototyped an individualized cardiac-gated electrical stimulator for use with Systolic Extinction Training (S.E.T.). DreamFactory manages the data flow from the device to a database and provides a robust API powering multiple apps used by pain therapists.

“Our research shows that chronic pain patients typically have a depreciated autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS can be trained using a combination of individualized cardiac-gated electro stimulation administered through the finger and operant therapy focused on rewarding good behaviors and eliminating pain behaviors,” explained the Marburg team in a Reddit AMA.

In effect, they’ve found a way to “retrain” a body’s nervous system to respond to, and significantly reduce, pain.

This novel approach for chronic pain offers demonstrable relief from a condition that affects the lives of so many people. “Chronic pain is really debilitating and it’s life changing when you get rid of it,” says Mathys.

The approach is twofold; a device to measure and stimulate the ANS and a comprehensive “elearning” program for therapists to conduct the sessions with. DreamFactory is a crucial part of the backend serving both.

In the beginning, Mathys had limited database and programming knowledge. His first attempts at an API for his MySQL database were with an optional MySQL addition called MySQL HTTP Plugin. The server requirements were too complex for his use, so he explored building his own API in PHP. As experienced devs will know, that’s easier said than done.

The search was on for a better solution. After trying the free hosted version of DreamFactory, he was up and running very quickly. He simply entered the URL of his MySQL server and credentials. The API was then auto-generated in a matter of seconds and he was able to have a working application with around ten hours of additional work.

Due to European regulations, the API couldn’t continue to be hosted in America. So, he found himself stepping up to a local install on his own server. The DreamFactory support team provided critical help at this point. For the ongoing front-end work, he has outsourced the native Android app development to a team of developers.


User privacy and security are essential components of any healthcare technology. DreamFactory provides a variety of tools to manage both and Mathys has leveraged the built-in role and user management to keep tight control of user data.

The project is in its late stages and he hopes to have delivery in Q1 of 2017. But, the team is already treating patients with the process and the results have been transformative.

“A couple came to us and they couldn’t have kids. They were considering a breakup. He’s German and she’s Spanish and she had a lot of chronic pain. The pain was preventing them from having kids, not physically, but from a practical point of view. So, we treated her. We got rid of her pain. She now has one child and is pregnant with a second child. The husband is so happy. It completely changed their lives.”

For more information on S.E.T. and Mathys’ project, visit setmargburg.com.



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