(PRESS RELEASE) Neurotrack, an innovative digital health company on a mission to transform the measurement and management of cognition and memory loss, today announced it has been awarded a fast-track grant worth up to $3.3 million, pending the completion of milestones, from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH, to assess how the company’s Memory Health Program, a digital, multi-domain lifestyle intervention, affects memory health in those at risk for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
“We are honored to receive the NIA’s support to conduct this groundbreaking study into what could become a novel method for how we approach scalable risk reduction of pathological cognitive decline in the future,” said Nick Bott, Psy.D., Chief Science Officer at Neurotrack. “A lower cost, easier-to-disseminate, efficacious version of a multi-domain intervention like our Memory Health Program, has the potential to slow the growth of Alzheimer’s rates substantially, which will have a significant public health impact on communities, globally.”
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 50 million people around the world today — a number that’s expected to double every 20 years, reaching more than 130 million by 2050. It’s a complex disease that, for many, begins in mid-life and manifests in later years, and, at present, has no cure. Evidence is growing, however, around the efficacy of multi-domain lifestyle interventions in reducing risk, delaying cognitive decline, and improving memory health.
Robust trials of multi-domain lifestyle interventions that target modifiable behavioral factors among at-risk populations have demonstrated an ability to reduce the rate of cognitive decline and impairment, reduce multimorbidity, and preserve physical function. However, dissemination at a scale that can have population-level effects is limited by the intensity of the intervention, number and diversity of healthcare professionals engaged, cost, and participant inconvenience.
“If successful, this study will not only validate the role of Neurotrack’s digital therapeutic in managing one’s memory health, but also, identify an intervention that can potentially slow the growing number of dementia diagnoses substantially, by targeting adults whose overall risk profile may be reasonably attacked through a multi-domain intervention,” said Dr. Bott.
Results from a preliminary study of Neurotrack’s digital therapeutic released last fall, showed promise of the intervention in engaging at-risk individuals in multi-domain interventions over 12 months with observable improvements in cognition. The grant, awarded through the NIA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Seed Fund, will enable Neurotrack to fully evaluate its delivery, use, and impact on improving cognitive health among those at-risk over a two-year period. The company will collaborate with Dr. Michelle Gray at the University of Arkansas Exercise Science Research Center (ESRC) on the study. Dr. Gray and her team have significant experience running multi-year intervention studies that target population groups age 40+.
Neurotrack’s Memory Health Program is an app-based, personalized digital therapy that supports behavioral change across multiple risk factors such as physical activity, nutrition, vascular health, and cognitive training, through on-demand health as well as coaching that can be accessed anywhere. It leverages the FINGER protocol (The Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability) — a landmark, multi-year study led by Neurotrack Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Miia Kivipelto, which identified multi-domain behaviors in older adults can improve cognition — and groundbreaking eye tracking technology developed by Dr. Stuart Zola, at Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Neurotrack Co-founder, to both measure one’s cognition and manage it over time.
The digital therapy has two components: multi-modal neuropsychological assessments that give users baseline and longitudinal measurement of their cognitive health and a multi-domain memory health program that will help users manage important lifestyle behaviors that can play role in one’s cognitive wellbeing.
“Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be the crippling pandemic it is on course to become. The impact it will have on communities around the world can be reduced, by making tools for cognitive health better accessible, alongside the pursuit of non-pharmacological interventions,” said Elli Kaplan, Co-founder and CEO, Neurotrack. “We’re thrilled to have been awarded this grant to continue our work and protect the memories of millions.”
This work is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1R44AG063672-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.