MdDS Reset was founded by Jan Van Riel and Michiel Carpentier.
Jan Van Riel is a software engineer and a serial entrepreneur. He holds over 30 software patents and has co-founded five startups, several of which had very successful exits. He co-founded startup Twintag, where he is also still active as both as Chairman of the Board and software engineer.
After disembarking from a long flight, somewhere in 2018, Jan kept feeling swaying emotions when sitting still, as if he would still be on the plane. This condition now seemed permanent, sometimes somewhat better and then a few days later again worse. This was the third incident in a decade. Not a single doctor could tell him what was wrong. He was tested extensively yet nothing could be found.
In 2019, he got a diagnosis. Dr. Prof. Floris Wuyts, a physicist and head of the Lab for Equilibrium Investigations and Aerospace (LEIA) at the University of Antwerp, studies MdDS and its treatment techniques, and diagnosed Jan with MdDS. MdDS, short for Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (English translation: Disembarkment Sickness Syndrome), was first truly diagnosed with patients who came back from a cruise and kept feeling seasick after the cruise. It is a vestibular (balance) disorder. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements.
Although the condition has been described as early as the 17th century, it was a badly understood affliction - how could anyone feel motion when sitting still? Some of these patients were even placed in psychiatric institutions because surely they should be mad. A study of six patients in 1987 brought change - finally MdDS was getting attention, but it is still not very known among the medical community, which means many patients are not diagnosed correctly.
Luckily for Jan, there was scientific progress in the meantime. At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the late Dr. Mingjia Dai, PhD, discovered the cause of MdDS: a maladaptation of a functional component of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) called velocity storage. And together with Bernard Cohen, Catherine Cho, Susan Shin and Sergei Yakushin from the New York Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai he worked out the first and to date only consistent succesful treatment protocol of MdDS: a readaptation of the VOR using optokinetic (OKN) stimuli, in the form of exposure to whole-field visual motion coupled with head tilts. This treatment is currently given in an OKN cabin (see picture). Unfortunately there are currently not many OKN cabins available worldwide, but Antwerp has one, at the Otorhinolaryngology Department of St Augustinus Hospital in Antwerp, close to where Jan lives. Jan was treated there successfully in October 2020.
During such a session, Jan was thinking that there should be a better, more scalable and more efficient way to deliver such OKN treatment, and came up with the concept idea of MdDS Reset VORtex, designed to help treat MdDS patients worldwide.
Michiel Carpentier specialty lies at the touchpoint between business and technology, with experience in product ownership and product marketing, both as an independent consultant and prior to that in technology companies great and small. At TechGnosis he was a colleague of Jan, and they kept contact. While working at the time on an assignment at Twintag as product owner of the Twintag solution, Jan discussed the idea with him, and the decision was made to found MdDS Reset together and work out the product.
Jan Van Riel
Jan being treated in the OKN cabin