Meet Simon Forsyth - General Manager of Incereb
For Simon Forsyth, the allure of the sea off the Irish coast has been a balm for the spirit and body in the midst of a pandemic that has kept Ireland in lockdown mode. For Forsyth, General Manager of Lifelines Neuro’s Incereb division, the sea is just outside his office window in Dublin, and he’s been swimming in it almost every day since August 2020. While confessing he’s missed two days, he has bragging rights for persistence as water temperatures dipped down to 42F/5C with air temperatures at 26F/-2C at their lowest points in February.
With no sports activities to ferry his three young children to and no access to gyms, restaurants, and other entertainment, there was not much to do. “Sea swimming is a good way to keep sane, it is almost meditative as you can’t think of anything when you feel like you are freezing - your brain is in survival mode,” says Forsyth. While he first went with his wife Ruth and a group of three friends, a steadfast group of seven has developed, dubbed “Truncos Natandi” which is Latin for swimming trunks, or togs as the Irish call them.
“I didn’t think we’d make it past November, but the Truncos Natandi have braved the elements,” says Forsyth. This includes taking in the beauty and stillness of the full moon every month for night swimming. The favorite location is 40 Foot and Sandycove beaches near Dun Laoghaire, where the hardiest of Irishmen have been swimming for generations. Once men-only, women now share the beach and the activity has become amazingly popular during the pandemic. Thanks to Lifelines Neuro Creative Services Specialist Piers Cross, the Truncos Natandi have a logo, t-shirts, and a “VI Sub Gradus Badge” - Latin for “anyone who is crazy enough to swim in sub 6C degree seawater.”
The health benefits of cold therapy are gaining ground, made popular by Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to stand freezing temperatures. He advocates cold therapy as a way to burn fat, boost the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation. So for Forsyth, cold water swimming fits in with keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Forsyth has been with Lifelines Neuro since the company acquired Incereb Ltd, in 2018. Incereb developed the neon 8 and neon 12, neonatal EEG electrode arrays for rapid deployment of EEG for neonates when nursing or EEG staff is not available, The neon enables NICU staff to quickly assess infants for signs of brain distress. Originally with a background in banking and finance, he was brought in to help Incereb with startup financing and ongoing financial management, however, now spends his time helping to work on a variety of Lifelines Neuro projects.
“We are looking for opportunities to expand the scope of EEG by partnering with companies developing algorithms, AI, and deep learning technology to analyze EEG data. It is really fascinating to learn how these companies are looking for biomarkers and patterns inpatient data to detect mental health issues, dementia, ADHD, and other central nervous system disorders,” says Forsyth. He also leads privacy regulation compliance and is working on a project with the IT security team to standardize responses to vendor questionnaires.
With St. Patrick’s Day not being celebrated in full swing just yet, our Celtic sea-swimmer can look forward to some entertainment from his eldest daughter Mabel, 13, who had the opportunity to spend part of last year at a boarding school focused on Gaelic culture and heritage. In addition to learning the language, Mabel came home with a traditional Irish tin whistle, which she had the joy of playing (over and over!) for her family. This year his middle son Oscar, 12, will attend the same school and looks forward to learning new skills, with baby sister Bonnie Sue, 9, sure to follow in her older siblings’ footsteps.
|The Forsyth family from left to right: Bonnie Sue, Ruth, Mabel, Simon, and Oscar.|