Cognitive assessments have been used for decades to find out how strokes, traumatic brain injury, or Alzheimer’s disease have affected brain function. However, crunching the numbers to determine how a patient’s brain is working, can be a time-consuming process. Some researchers at Stanford University have developed an app that can be used on any iOS or Android smartphone as a cognitive and brain health assessment tool. The app, which makes any smartphone into a medical device, is currently being beta tested and should be available in a clinical setting by the end of 2016.
Users will spend about 30 to 45 minutes completing certain tasks that determine factors such as verbal memory, impulse control, and information processing speed. Then the results are entered into the app, which generates scores instantly on a high to low scale. The app also presents a short description explaining the results and a plan for improving areas where a deficit has been detected. The results can be shared with health care providers for further evaluation.
Recovery from a brain injury brought about by a stroke or head trauma is often predicated on how swiftly the damage can be assessed so that treatment and rehab can proceed. Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease that has no cure, nevertheless has treatments available that can slow the degenerative nature of the illness. Having an easy to use assessment tool such as the Stanford app will be a great advance in making these assessments in a timely fashion, the better to help in recovery and treatment.
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