With the number of people being diagnosed with dementia on the rise every year, finding innovative, accurate and inexpensive assessments is more important than ever.
Cogniciti Inc., a CC-ABHI partner, has developed a free online brain health assessment in conjunction with scientists at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute that helps those aged 50-79 determine whether they need to discuss their memory concerns with a doctor.
“A great many Canadians are finding it tough to decide when to bring their memory concerns to their doctors,” said Mike Meagher, president of Cogniciti Inc. “Our mission with the test is to get the right people in to see the doctor and reduce unnecessary visits by the worried well.”
While not a diagnostic tool, the 20-minute assessment is like a temperature check for the mind, and comprises a number of game-like mental challenges that tap into memory and attention performance. Test takers receive an immediate cognitive health score upon completion to see where they rank compared to other adults of the same age and education. Those who score in the low range are encouraged to print their report and take it to their doctor to start the conversation about their memory concerns.
“For those who score poorly on the test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Getting checked by a doctor is the best way to rule out other health problems that could be causing your cognitive issues,” said Dr. Angela Troyer, program director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health at Baycrest, and a lead member of the project team that developed the online test.
“If it turns out that you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis along with science-based education and interventions will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you’ll need in future.”
Since launching in May 2014, 107,000 visitors to the Cogniciti website have completed 41,000 online brain health assessments.
Cogniciti Inc. signed a collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. last September to evaluate online screening strategies for early identification of dementia. The collaboration, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, will explore the potential for online psychometric tests, such as the Cogniciti brain health test, to help identify adults at risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.