Mobile Platform Captures and Analyzes Cognitive and Emotional Health of Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients
Toronto—BrightFocus Foundation, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, AnthroTronix, and Mindoula, have launched Phase II of the Health-eBrain Study, investigating the impact the Alzheimer’s caregiving experience has on brain and behavioral health. The announcement will be made at the Global Alliance for Women's Brain Health Luncheon at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto on July 26, 2016.
More than 1,000 caregivers were recruited for Phase I of the study, which documented cognitive impairment in the informal caregiver population compared with matched controls. An informal caregiver is defined as an unpaid person without formal training, such as a family member, who provides care for an individual with dementia.
“Given the results we found in Phase I, we have set two goals for Phase II. The first is to look at caregiver stressors that could be possible causes for this cognitive impairment as well as provide an intervention that could help these caregivers with their mental health,” said Dr. Cori Lathan, board chair and CEO of AnthroTronix.
"The rigor of science can help us better understand and improve caregivers' health,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. “BrightFocus is honored to support such innovative research."
In Phase II, an international cohort of caregivers will use DANA™, AnthroTronix’s FDA-cleared brain health assessment mobile app, to assess their cognitive function over 12 weeks. DANA provides detailed feedback about brain function that can be analyzed for changes over time. All participants in Phase II will use DANA, with some participants also using Mindoula. DANA will track their sleep, mood, stress levels and self-evaluation of memory. Participants receiving Mindoula will be those who show signs of depression and a high-level of caregiver burden. Mindoula connects users with a case manager who tracks their performance and provides resources to cope with the stressors of caregiving.
“We’re honored that AnthroTronix saw the power of our intervention combined with its FDA-cleared mobile cognitive assessment app,” said Steve Sidel, founder and CEO of Mindoula. “Our virtual solution will provide around-the-clock support to caregivers, with easy-to-use features like secure texting and check-ins, telephonic support, app-based monitoring, and assessments.”
Using tools like DANA, regular screening for cognitive efficiency can track changes in cognitive performance over time, and screen via objective tests for co-morbid conditions such as depression, insomnia, and fatigue.
Phase II’s objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention that combines virtual case management with a cognitive assessment app, through mobile digital health tools, in reducing depression and improving cognition among informal caregivers.
"This study offers Alzheimer’s disease caregivers a mobile mirror on their own cognitive vitality. The research also reflects the potential of virtual interventions outside the clinic," said Meryl Comer, president and CEO of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative.
P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD, an advisor to the study and to AnthroTronix, is professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, where his lab has been at the forefront of developing and validating novel technologies for neuropsychiatric disorders.
“Alzheimer’s has a devastating impact on the more than 45 million family caregivers worldwide, who look after their loved ones. Although the emotional toll of caregiving is well-studied, much less is known about its long term impact on the caregiver’s cognitive health,” said Dr. Doraiswamy. “The Health-eBrain study will pioneer the use of mobile tools for assessing and monitoring the emotional and cognitive wellbeing of Alzheimer’s caregivers.”
Results from Phase II will help further the efforts of BrightFocus and The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative to provide resources, through innovative research, to those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
The Health-eBrain study is supported by the BrightFocus Foundation and the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, lead funders under the 21st Century BrainTrust (21CBT), designed to empower personal brain health and support early diagnosis using mHealth technology.
AnthroTronix, an engineering research and development company, produces human-centered technologies that advance health, communication, education, and defense. We develop innovative, research-based technologies that influence change and enhance lives around the world. Our company has been recognized among Inc. Magazine’s “5000 Fastest Growing Companies" and selected by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer company. For more information on us, visit www.atinc.com, follow us on Twitter at @AnthroTronix, or connect with us on LinkedIn.
DANA, which received FDA clearance in October 2014, is a mobile medical app that can be used on a phone or tablet and works on both the Android and iOS operating systems. DANA administers game-like tests that can provide data within minutes to help assess and measure a person’s brain/cognitive health. The app can help clinicians track cognitive function as a quantitative outcome during treatment for such conditions as depression, dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For more information on DANA, visit http://danabrainvital.com.
Mindoula (www.mindoula.com) is a technology-enabled case management company headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, that provides 24/7 virtual and in-person support to individuals and families facing behavioral health challenges. Its proprietary telehealth platform, which includes a HIPAA compliant mobile engagement app, proprietary psychometrics, predictive analytics, and collaborative care software, enables its team of case managers and peer support specialists to deliver market leading behavioral health outcome improvements and reduce healthcare costs. An innovator in the areas of case management, collaborative care, and behavioral health population management, Mindoula is at the forefront of the transformation of behavioral healthcare.
BrightFocus Foundation funds research and promotes awareness to end Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma. The nonprofit is currently managing a global portfolio of 150 projects, efforts that were recommended by scientific review committees of leading experts. For more information, visit www.brightfocus.org.
About the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative is a catalytic donor philanthropy that promotes innovation in early diagnosis and AD prevention. Funded by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation since 2008, it has launched major innovation challenges, national public service campaigns and led the formation in 2012 of the non-profit partnership, 21st Century BrainTrust. Partners: Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, BrightFocus Foundation, UsAgainstAlzheimers and the Cleveland Clinic/Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.