Writing in The Lancet Psychiatry , neuroscientists state the coronavirus pandemic is having a “profound effect on mental health”, with significant social and economic implications.
They have called “an urgent need for mechanistically driven interventions to address the psychological, social, and neuroscientific aspects of this pandemic”.
MyCognition is positioned to meet the call with a remote digital platform based upon a clinical evidence base that assesses, treats and prevents poor mental health across the entire population, including vulnerable groups.
The Lancet paper, written by researchers and clinicians, recommends: “Immediate actions include the development of a neuropsychological database of COVID-19 cases to bring together standardised, longitudinally repeated data at scale from those needing treatment and by online assessments for patients in isolation at home…using computerised tests of cognitive and emotional processing”
The MyCognition platform allows a user’s mental health to be monitored and reported by their health practitioner, delivering the most effective and low resource heavy interventions. The digital platform bridges the social distance for those in need of stronger mental resilience and can be operated by the user without the need for assistance. The training games are automatically calibrated to individual user assessments, allowing both personalised treatment plans and productivity gains from healthcare professionals.
Importantly, Cognition is shown to play a role regulating the body’s immune response. Inflammation caused by pro-inflammatory cytokines (immune cells) is shown to have a negative relationship with cognition. Good cognition regulates cortisol and cytokines, enhancing mental health and immunity. If infected, people with good cognition are likely to be asymptomatic as control over cortisol can still regulate the inflammatory processes.
Relationship of stress, cognition and immunity
Prolonged or extreme stress compromises cognition and its regulation of cytokines via cortisol, and the immune system deteriorates. Death from SARS-CoV-2 virus is caused by a “cytokine storm”, filling the body with inflammatory material. Those who survive a severe infection are likely to suffer mental illness as a result of high levels of circulating IL-6. By improving mental resilience, MyCognition could regulate immune response, possibly reducing the risk of mental illness and infection.
The MyCognition platform offers a way to efficiently manage and treat mental health issues in an adaptive and flexible manner, using validated and engaging video game tasks. Our app can be downloaded onto any smart device and captures data from online validated cognitive assessments that can be repeated and analysed at scale.
As the Lancet paper describes: “There are important immediate insights to be gained, which could provide evidence-based guidance on responding to this pandemic and on how to promote mental health and wellbeing, and safeguard the brain, should future waves of infection emerge.”
Holmes, Emily A., et al. “Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science.” The Lancet Psychiatry (2020).
 Wilson C.J. et al., J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Dec; 50(12):2041-56.
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