Do you have trouble remembering proper names? Do you start to say something and then stop because you can’t remember what it was you were going to say? Are you always misplacing your car keys or eyeglasses? Do you walk across your house into another room and then can’t remember why you are there or what you were going to do?
As we age, all of us will experience these kinds of memory lapses now and then. It is therefore no wonder that most of us worry about memory and cognitive function as we get older. After all, Alzheimer’s is often called the world’s second most feared disease. Only a diagnosis of cancer strikes greater fear. And if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of watching a close relative go down with Alzheimer’s disease you may fear such a demise even more than cancer.
So how do you know if your memory is just fine compared to others your age or if your occasional lapses might be the sign of something more serious that should be brought to the attention of your doctor? Here’s a way to find out with a free, on-line “thermometer for the mind” offered by Cogniciti.
Cogniciti is a for-profit joint venture between Baycrest, a world leader in memory and aging located in Toronto, Canada , and MaRS , a premiere innovation center also in Canada. Working together, along with Microsoft partners Navantis and Dapasoft, they have developed an Online Brain Health Assessment that is helping to forecast the future of brain health.
The Assessment combines a number of game-like exercises that test the areas of brain health most closely linked to aging: memory, attention, and executive function. It was developed across 2½ years of clinical research by Baycrest neuroscientists and researchers and has been normalized to give test takers their results relative to adults of similar age and education. Each test taker receives a personalized report with their results, a suggested action plan, and access to a wide selection of science-based brain health information videos, books, and tools. Those adults who score below normal receive a specially-prepared report for their doctor as well as guidance on how to best prepare for that appointment.
One of the challenges for Cogniciti was how to scale the on-line services for such a test across all of North America and eventually around the globe. That’s where Microsoft comes into play. The Online Brain Health Assessment is hosted in the cloud using Microsoft Azure with data collection and reporting through Microsoft SQL Azure. This allows Cogniciti to quickly expand its Brain Health Assessment without the costs, delays, and complexity that are commonly associated with building scalable IT infrastructure.
The Cogniciti Online Brain Health Assessment test is available on the web, at no cost. It can be taken by adults from the privacy and convenience of their homes. Completing the test requires just 20 minutes or so. You can learn more and take the test at www.cogniciti.com.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft