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Biotechs are used to turning to genetics as guideposts in developing new medications. Now, a small but growing number of startups are turning to a century-old technology found in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country to find new clues for developing brain disorder treatments.

At least four biotechs — Athira Pharma, Alto Neuroscience, Beacon Biosignals, and Neumora Therapeutics — have integrated electroencephalograms, or EEGs, in their work. The tests use dozens of electrodes placed around a person’s head to measure brain waves, generally to diagnose epilepsy or sleep disorders, but these companies believe they could unveil new biomarkers for many other conditions.

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