Case studies

MyCognition commissions and is involved in a range of clinical trials and real-world studies on an ongoing basis in partnership with a wide range of respected academic, medical and commercial organisations covering different health conditions and user types and investigating the correlation with different areas of individual performance.

These organisations include Lea Valley GP Federation, Greater Manchester Test Bed, Maastricht University Medical Center, Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, Antwerp University Hospital, Stad & Esch Schools Netherlands and many more.

Long Term Conditions - Lea Valley, 2019

The Challenge

Approximately 15 million people in England have one
or more long-term physical condition. We are living longer, but in poorer
health, at higher cost to the
NHS. For example, people with long-term conditions
account for approximately 50% of all GP appointments
. Living with long-term conditions is difficult and
often results in poor cognition. People struggle to take care of themselves
properly and are at greater risk of developing a mental health problem, such as
depression or severe anxiety. 

Poor cognitive functioning increases the risk of poor mental health and increasing
evidence shows that cognitive issues are predictors and risk factors for mental
illness (Wood S.J. et al., 2012; Snyder H.R. et al., 2015; McTeague L.M.,
2016). In addition, researchers in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
(Fanfan Zheng, et al. Diabetologia. 2017) inform us that there is clear
correlation between raised HbA1c levels (i.e. in diabetics) and poor cognition
functioning.


The Solution

Lea Valley Health Federation, a highly
innovative practice network in Hertfordshire, are working with MyCognition
to test our self-care App. Participants are
included in the study if over the age of 50 and have one or more of the
following conditions: heart failure, diabetes, respiratory disease,
Parkinson’s, Mild Cognitive Impairment and depression.

The App measures, monitors and treats cognitive impairment and strengthens mental resilience resulting in improvements in lifestyle contributing to the patient becoming better at self-care.


Impact

Participants have responded well, with initial uptake in the hundreds. The majority of the participants have assessed their cognition with MyCQ and begun the automatic, targeted training with AquaSnap as part of a daily habit. This will be beneficial to the patients and reduce the burden on their GP practice, this reducing NHS costs.

References

https://innovationexchangeeast.org/story/4180

Greater Manchester Diabetes Test Bed - UK 2019

The Challenge

Approximately 150,000
people in Greater Manchester have Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM), consuming nearly 10
per cent of the health service budget. Diabetes can cause severe,
life-threatening, costly complications. However, with a better life-style, many
patients could improve their condition. In addition, people with diabetes have more
risk of mental illness. Like many regions, Greater Manchester is not achieving
the NICE treatment targets and the uptake of the self-management of diabetes
(improving diets and levels of activity) is poor. 


The Solution

MyCognition has been selected
as one of the NHS Diabetes Test Bed Innovation Partners in the Greater
Manchester “DiabetesMyWay” (GMDMW) programme. MyCognition will provide
diabetics with a means to help self-manage their diabetes more effectively
through monitoring and strengthening of their cognitive fitness. This will
enable patients more chance to change their life-style through healthier
activity and diet habits. Diabetics will also be encouraged to improve
attendance at clinics.


Impact

The project will improve both the outcomes and
experience of people with diabetes, enabling them to access clinical support,
care planning and self-management. This project will target “hard-to-reach”
people and investigate the potential to financially incentivise people with
diabetes to attend care services. By the end of 2019 we would expect 150.000
people to have access to the programme.

References

https://www.gmecscn.nhs.uk/index.php/news/675-thousands-of-people-in-greater-manchester-to-benefit-from-1-million-boost-to-test-innovative-digital-diabetes-support

Memory assessment service (MAS) cognitive stimulation software project - Northampton, UK 2019

The Challenge

Currently when
a person is referred to an NHS memory assessment service (because they are
experiencing cognitive deficits or decline) and receives a Mild Cognitive Impairment
(MCI) diagnosis, or they do not receive a diagnosis of MCI or dementia, they
are given verbal and written information but usually no treatment is available.

Receiving a
diagnosis of MCI can be a significant event in a person’s life. It can be a chance
for a person to reassess their lives, and their behaviours that influence their
health, wellbeing, activity and functioning. People referred to MAS who do not
get an MCI or dementia diagnosis will still be experiencing cognitive deficits
or declines. It is important that services offer access to useful resources at
the earliest stage of cognitive decline to enable the best future outcomes. Northamptonshire
Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been offering signposting to resources via
its website and some group workshops for people with MCI.


The Solution

MyCognition
Limited has invested over £5
million to develop a software program to assess and train cognitive functioning
and support healthy lifestyles. It was designed and built by cognitive
scientists, has 17,000+ user cases across different ages, genders, health
states and is CE Mark as a Class 1A Medical Device for intended purpose. It has
been reviewed by NHS digital and been defined as a ‘Trusted digital tool for
patients and the public to manage and improve their health’. It can be bought
by anyone in the UK. MyCognition has evidence that it can enhance cognitive
functioning with various patient groups; e.g. depression, schizophrenia, learning
disability, Parkinson’s disease, and anxiety (Shah et al. 2016; Nieman et al. 2015;
van de Weijer et al 2016; Cliveden et al. 2017). 


Impact

As a part of
routine practice, over a period of 12 months people who have been referred to
the Northamptonshire
Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust memory assessment service (MAS), but who have
not received a dementia diagnosis, will be given the option of free access to
MyCognition. Using MyCognition may enhance cognition and educate and train
people in healthy lifestyles and encourage positive behavioural change. Northamptonshire
Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will evaluate the uptake and impact of
undertaking the software program on cognitive functioning, and seek to gain
users feedback.

References

https://www.nhft.nhs.uk/mas

Be Brave Ranch PTSD study - Canada

The Challenge

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has a serious
long-term impact of children’s mental health, including post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD). The development of PTSD is closely linked to poorer
longer-term outcomes, occurring in approximately 40% of CSA survivors. Effective
treatment, particularly for younger children, is challenging.


The Solution

The MyCognition programme has been adopted by
the “Be Brave Ranch”, a specialised treatment facility in Canada, in
collaboration with University of Alberta, as a part of a novel, intensive,
residential program to help children aged 8-12 who have been victims of CSA.
This programme involves a number of interventions, including MyCognition, such
as structured play, physical exercise, arts and crafts, music, and
cognitive-training.


Impact

The outcomes in the programme showed a highly
significant reduction in Child Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale
(CPSS) scores. The improvement is likely to be highly clinically relevant.
There was also a significant decrease in depression and anxiety, as measured by
the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale-Short Version scale, with scores
decreasing from baseline to follow-up. Full results are now being published to
show the impact of the MyCognition programme on children’s cognitive
functioning.

References

Silverstone, P. H., Greenspan, F., Silverstone, M., Sawa, H., & Linder, J. (2016). A Complex Multimodal 4-Week Residential Treatment Program Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Child Sexual Abuse Victims: The Be Brave Ranch. J Child Adolesc Behav, 4, 275.

Woodside High School - London, UK

The Challenge

The link between special educational needs and
poor cognition is well documented, but there was no means to systematically
address the problem across a whole school. Schools have difficulty trying to
meet the diverse and individual needs of students. They often revert to “subject
specific” interventions, treating the symptom, not the cause of the child’s
problem, and this has a limited impact. Many students continue to lack the
cognitive skills required to access curriculum content and this holds back
their learning and can result in bad behaviour as the child struggles in
lessons without the right help. The secondary school where this study was
carried out had a high percentage of pupils in receipt of the pupil premium and
a significant number of pupils spoke English as a second language. A large
proportion of children were designated as at risk of not achieving a minimum of
5 GCSE’s.


The Solution

MyCognition’s cognitive
health assessment and training was adopted in the school as an alternative
therapy to help improve the numeracy and literacy of a group of Year 8 pupils
most at risk of falling behind. Forty-three students were involved in the
trial, all took MyCQ, half were placed in the training group and half in a
control group.  In an after-school club,
those in the control group were given extra homework support, while the
training group played AquaSnap. The study lasted one term.


Impact

The results showed the cognitive function and
academic performance of the training group improved more – almost twice that of
the Control group, particularly in executive function and episodic memory, with
a significant improvement in children who trained more than 10 hours over the
term. Across the 3 core subjects of Maths, English and Science, the training
group consistently had better results that the control group and showed better
increases in national sub-level 1, 2 and 3 (+2%, +13% and + 12% respectively).
The percentage of test students showing regression almost halved. In total 13
subjects were teacher assessed and the training group had better results in 10
subjects. There was also a positive correlation between the amount of cognitive
training and improvement in academic performance, most pronounced in English.


School Feedback

“In
trialling MyCognition’s programme we wanted to see whether we could provide an
alternative and engaging intervention to help support our Year 8 students most
at risk of falling behind. These students typically attend subject-specific
boosters, but we are committed to trying new approaches like MyCognition’s, to
find the interventions which work best for our students, capture their
attention and ultimately lead to real life improvements.


“MyCognition’s
programme is innovative and I felt that it was a powerful intervention to help
those students who were struggling in their year group.  At the end of the trial, in a class where 28%
had previously been in a ‘worrying’ category we found that this proportion had
dropped quite dramatically. The programme worked particularly well for some
students who never tired of the game, and we noticed gains when it came to
motivation, memory and engagement in these students.


“MyCognition’s programme can play an important
role as a part of a school’s holistic intervention package, particularly for
those students who are struggling. In combination with other therapies, it can
really benefit students in particular areas and that is what the results of
this study show.”    

Jake Thomas, Deputy Head teacher at Woodside High School


“I’m enjoying my time at school more since
playing the game. I moved up a set in maths. I like maths more now.”

Year 8, 13 year old girl
presenting with speech, language, communication and processing difficulties,
English as a second language (EAL) and recipient of Pupil Premium.


“It
made my remembering better in science and music… my time at school is getting
better since playing AquaSnap because I do my work very well now in history… I
enjoy music more now… I do my tasks faster”

Year 8 boy with a diagnosis of dyslexia, speech
and language difficulties.

References

Shah P., Kumar, R., McCone A., Sparrowhawk, K.,
Thomas, J. (2016, July). The impact of cognitive function assessment and
adaptive training on academic performance in students with learning
difficulties. Poster session presented at the 10th Federation of European
Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of Neuroscience, Copenhagen, DK.

Welsh Primary schools’ - Wales, UK

The Challenge

Cognitive
development is critical in primary school children because of its pedagogical (learning)
and health implications when major brain developmental changes are occurring with
the beginnings of higher-level cognitive skills. Good cognitive fitness in
childhood predicts academic readiness and achievement, reasoning, numeracy and
literacy skills. It also has a protective effect on mental health. However,
little is being investigated in education practice around the
neuropsychological foundations of children’s attainment and their general
potential to learn. A greater understanding of the core cognitive domains will
shed light on this.


The Solution

Eleven primary schools in Wales took part of in
an 8-weeks study using the MyCognition programme. 754 students were initially
assessed with MyCQ. Of these 108 were identified to undertake AquaSnap training.
Students were asked to train for 60 minutes or more per week, taking the MyCQ
assessment at baseline and at the end of the study. 


Impact

Improvements were evident in all areas of
cognitive health for students who trained for the recommended period. The
students enjoyed playing AquaSnap and a majority of them felt it had a positive
effect on their ability to learn. There was a clear link between time trained
and improvement in cognitive function. Students who trained for less than 30
minutes per week showed less improvement, whereas strong gains were identified
in those who trained for greater than 60 minutes. A survey reported that 98% of
students were willing to carrying on playing AquaSnap; 74% felt an improved
ability to finish their work in class, 81% felt their maths skills improved and
87% their writing skills; 98% found easier to remember things learnt and 80%
reported to be more organised.


School Feedback

“The game is very good, and it gives you lots
of skills”

 “I would say it helps develop your thinking”

“It was the best game ever because it was so fun,
and you got faster and better the more you played.”

Students said:

References

Sparrowhawk K.,
Kumar, R., McCone, A. (2016, July). Evaluation of cognitive function and
training in school children
. Poster session presented at the 10th
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of Neuroscience,
Copenhagen, DK
.

Peterborough Schools - UK, 2016

The Challenge

Poor
cognitive health, psychological disorders and antisocial behaviours are
associated with areas of deprivation and increases in public health and social
services. MyCognition research showed that, for a Smart City in the UK like
Peterborough, the annual pro rata cost of poor cognitive health in the
Education sector amounts to roughly £26M, comprising £17M for Special
Educational Needs, £4M for youth crime, and £5M for psychiatric disorders. A
cost-benefit analyses published in 2016 reported that cognitive assessment and
training interventions could reduce the economic burden of poor cognitive
health for specific cohorts, reducing social and public health costs while
improving chances for learners to complete their education, reducing antisocial
behaviour that often precedes entry into the criminal justice system, and
increasing the likelihood for those out of work to gain full-time employment. 


The Solution

As winner of the World Smart City of the Year
2015 award, the city of Peterborough in the United Kingdom implemented a
citizen growth, innovation, skill, and sustainability programme and In 2016
Peterborough City Council worked with MyCognition to promote and enhance
cognitive wellbeing across multiple segments of the population, resulting in
related outcomes in academic achievement, employability, business soft skills,
quality of life, health, and sustainability.

Beginning with the youngest segment of population,
the project involved 7 primary schools, with the aim of improving academic
outcomes of those children who were struggling in mathematics. The solution
proposed was to provide pupils with the MyCognition ED assessment and training
programs for an initial period of eight weeks, at the end of which the putative
improvements shown in cognition will be compared with official mathematics
assessments. Over 300 students were assessed.


Impact

The training group showed over 40% improvement
more than the control group and had a more balanced, stronger, overall cognition.
On the contrary, the control group maintained the differences between the
domains. The overall progress was also mirrored in a general improvement in
mathematics learning, as assessed by the NfER tests.

School Feedback

“The MyCognition assessment and games can
really, really help our pupils. I think it can have a real impact on how we
assess and move children’s learning forward.”

“The children really enjoy the online game.
They see it as a really exciting thing to do and enjoy the progressive aspect
of improving and getting better.”

“It’s a very successful programme. The children
are very, very, engaged. When I’m out on the courtyard in the morning, the
children who have MyCognition can’t wait to get into the classroom and get on
with.

“From a head teacher point of view, when
talking with a teacher, we can see there is a growing impact, especially of
working memory, in tests and assessments.”


Martin
Fry, Head Teacher, Ravensthorpe Primary

“The idea vision for me is that all students
have access to MyCognition.”


Colm McCloskey, Head of
Wellbeing, Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough


References

Sparrowhawk,
K., Cliveden, P., Ratto, M., Ogle-Welbourn, W., & Sunley, A. (2016).
Evaluating the Cost-Benefit of A Cognitive Assessment and Training Program
Across A Smart City Population in The UK. Value in Health, 19(7), A693-A694.

Ratto M.,
Sparrowhawk K.T., Cliveden P.B. (2017), The Use of an IT-based Cognitive
Assessment and Training as a part of a Smart City Program: Implications in
Educational, Social, and Healthcare Public Services. ICDS 2017, The Eleventh
International Conference on Digital Society and eGovernments, Nice, FR.

Watch the Video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDIgi5j03sI

Home Special Educational Needs Case Study - UK, 2015

The Challenge

MyCognition conducted a thorough research of
Special Educational Needs (SEN) through YouGov in 2015. We found:

  • The incidence of SEN is
    increasing, with 21% of parents stating they have a child with a learning or
    behavioural difficulty
  • 40% of these parents are struggling
    to cope
  • 36% of children ‘feel
    helpless’
  • 29% of parents say they have
    daily struggles
  •  Almost two thirds of the
    parents say that their child gets frustrated and 50% of their children lack
    confidence
  •  57% worry about their child’s
    future and 44% state family life is more stressful
  • Only 51% of children have an
    official diagnosis, without which they will receive minimal, if any, support.
  • 38% say they want more
    practical things they can do to help their child

Special educational needs in the UK are
increasingly being medicalised with over a million prescriptions for Ritalin
and related drugs for ADHD dispensed last year – more than double the number of
a decade ago – and research casts doubt over Ritalin’s effectiveness. This
trend is a concern as guidelines state drugs should be used as a last resort. Alternative
treatments such as targeted brain training should be used first.


The Solution

The MyCognition programme has been adopted by
families in UK, Canada and Australia with children aged 8 to 15 years old with
SEN, including Autism, ADHD, Attention Deficit, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and
General Learning Difficulties. It was used to profile and train their cognitive
health without specialist help in the home setting. The aim was to improve
cognitive health and qualitatively measure other improvements. 


Impact

Several children with diagnosed with attention
deficit were found to have good attention. In their case it was their Executive
Function that was in deficit. Overall cognitive health was improved by an
average of 13 points (on a 1-100 scale) across the children. The improvements
were seen in all 5 key cognitive domains. The parents also reported
improvements in the behaviour and academic performance of the children, e.g., calmer
and more motivated to do homework. One girl was chosen for her netball team due
to improvements in her physical coordination. 


Feedback

“Incredibly accurate, gave a fascinating insight into our daughter’s mind.  It correctly highlighted attention as an area that she struggles with. Unique is a really exciting programme, it really does offer something original and impactful.”

Parent of a girl aged 10
presenting with ADD, Auditory & Visual Processing Disorder

“Really pleased with the impact that
MyCognition has had on our son: concentration, behaviour, and demonstrably
calmer after playing the game. His school noticed the positive changes in him.
Since the start of the school year he has gone up a number of reading levels
and is making rapid progress, this in turn is making him more confident.”

Parent of a boy aged 7
presenting with Attention issues (no SEN diagnosis

“The MyCognition assessment captured my son
perfectly. I was impressed that even though he didn’t initially complete the
recommended amount of playing time he still improved in the majority of
cognitive domains. His behaviour has improved markedly and he is even taking
notes in class now, which is a big leap.”

Parent of a boy aged 13
presenting with ADHD & failing in mathematics

“MyCognition has helped to calm him down.
Routine is important for children like my son, and because he can play AquaSnap
for 15 minutes every day, it can become a beneficial part of a child’s daily
routine.”

Parent of a boy aged 13
presenting with ADHD & Autism

“Notable improvements in his ability to follow
instructions retain information and listen attentively.  Getting ready for school in the morning has
become simpler as he finds it easier to remember what he needs to get done. At
school, his ability to concentrate and his confidence have improved. He is
finding it easier to listen and understand what is going on in class.”

Parent of a boy aged 10
presenting with Auditory Processing Disorder


References
McCone A.,
Kumar, R., Sparrowhawk, K., Franchi L. (2016, July), Evaluating the impact
of cognitive training for SEN children when used at home
. Poster session
presented at the 10th Federation of European Neuroscience Societies
(FENS) Forum of Neuroscience, Copenhagen, DK.

Watch the Video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKBPbbe0b9I

Validation Trial/Mixed Psychiatric Population - UMC Amsterdam, NL, 2013 - 2018

The Challenge

Cognitive
impairment is increasingly seen as a risk factor and cause of mental illness.
It also greatly affects daily functioning. Improving cognitive functioning will
help earlier return to employment, reduced clinical symptoms and health care
costs. However, historically treatment of cognitive impairment was limited. Current
cognitive test batteries are time-consuming, require a specialist and cannot be
done at home. Cognitive remediation
within a clinical setting can be costly and time-consuming. The repetitive
nature can also be tedious and unattractive for patients. When developing new
treatments, assessment of the cognitive status of a patient is essential in
order to provide targeted treatments. Offering online cognitive assessment and training
in a gamified format would improve accessibility and acceptability and be a
cost-efficient alternative. 


The Solution

The Amsterdam UMC performed a randomized
controlled trial, where 87 adult patients with different psychiatric disorders,
including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia, were
assigned to the active arm (training with the game from home), or control arm (receiving
treatment as usual). Cognitive functioning, psychosocial functioning and
clinical symptoms were measured at the beginning and end of the training
period. To investigate the validity of MyCQ, it was compared to the
well-validated, commonly used Cambridge Neuropsychological Automated Test
Battery (CANTAB). Patients completed both MyCQ and CANTAB. MyCQ subtests that
measured specific cognitive domains were compared to CANTAB subtests that
measured corresponding domains.


Impact

The results showed that MyCQ is a valid
measure of cognition. The 5 domains of processing speed, attention, episodic
memory, working memory and executive functioning were confirmed by Principal
Component Analysis. The MyCQ total score correlated highly with the CANTAB
total score. Patients found MyCQ more attractive and
easier to use than CANTAB as it
could be easily completed from home
without supervision. This also made if greatly more cost-efficient. Twenty-five
per cent of patients adhered to the required training-time and those who trained
for the required period, improved more in working memory (large effect) and
showed trend-improvements in global cognition and executive functioning (medium
effects) compared to control patients. A medium effect on psychosocial
functioning (WSAS) was also found, including work/education, household, social
activities, private activities and family/relationships. The paper validating
MyCQ has been published (see below), with full results expected soon.


Feedback

“The MyCQ appears to be a promising instrument for assessing cognition online within a mixed psychiatric population. It is cost‐efficient, easily administered, and usable in different psychiatric populations, which makes it a good candidate for both clinical and community studies”

International
Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research

References
Domen AC, van de Weijer SCF, Jaspers
MW, Denys D, Nieman DH. The validation of a new online cognitive assessment
tool: The MyCognition Quotient. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2019;e1775.
https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1775

Domen, A. C., Kumar, R.,
Harrison, J., De Haan, L., Denys, D. A. J. P., & Nieman, D. H. (2015). The
validation of a new, online cognitive assessment tool. European
Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, S344.

Domen, A. C., Kumar, R.,
Harrison, J., De Haan, L., Denys, D. A. J. P., & Nieman, D. H. (2016). The
validation of a new online cognitive assessment tool. European
Neuropsychopharmacology, 26, S342-S343.

Nieman, D. H., Domen, A.
C., Kumar, R., Harrison, J., De Haan, L., & Denys, D. A. (2015). Cognitive
remediation in psychiatric patients with an online cognitive game and
assessment tool. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, S344-S345. 

Parkin'Play Study - Maastricht UMC+, NL, 2016 -2018

The Challenge

In Parkinson’s Disease (PD), cognitive
impairment is an important non-motor symptom foreshowing the development of
dementia. Even with optimal medical management of the motor symptoms, cognitive
impairment remains a common and incapacitating problem for many PD patients.
Therefore, adequate strategies to improve cognitive performance and to possibly
delay the onset of PD dementia are urgently needed.


The Solution

The Parkin’Play Study aims to evaluate the
feasibility of the MyCognition programme on cognitive performance in
Parkinson’s Disease (PD). UMC+ run a multicentre, phase-II, open-randomized
clinical trial of 41 patients with PD, Hoehn & Yahr stages I-III, aged
between 40 and 75 years, and with cognitive impairment, but no dementia. The
intervention group was trained for a minimum of 12 weeks using AquaSnap, while
the control group was placed on a waiting list. In order to increase
compliance, the health game could be played at home, was enjoyable and adapted
to the subjects’ performance. Assessments were conducted at three time points:
at baseline, week 12 and week 24.



Impact

Only five patients (12%) dropped out of the
study before follow-up assessments could be performed, suggesting good results
on the feasibility of the MyCognition programme in Parkinson’s patients. Full
results are being published.


References

van de Weijer, S. C., Duits,
A. A., Bloem, B. R., Kessels, R. P., Jansen, J. F., Köhler, S., … &
Kuijf, M. L. (2016). The Parkin’Play study: protocol of a phase II randomized
controlled trial to assess the effects of a health game on cognition in
Parkinson’s disease. BMC Neurology, 16(1), 209.

van de Weijer S., Kuijf M., Duits A., Kessels
R., de Vries N., Köhler S., Tissingh G., Bloem B. (2018). Feasibility of a
health game on cognition in Parkinson’s disease: Interim analyses of the Parkin’Play
Study. Mov Disord. 2018; 33 (suppl 2).
http://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/feasibility-of-a-health-game-on-cognition-in-parkinsons-disease-interim-analyses-of-the-parkinplay-study/. 

Breast Cancer Trial - UZA Antwerp, BE 2016 -2018

The Challenge

Advances in early detection and treatment of
breast cancer have improved survival. However, cancer survivors often report
cognitive dysfunction; “chemo-or foggy-brain”. It is estimated that 40% of
patients experience cognitive dysfunction before treatment, 75% may have
cognitive decline during treatment, and 60% experience deterioration after
completion of therapy. This cognitive dysfunction can persist for a long time
after treatment. Although its effects are usually mild to moderate, it can have
profound consequences on quality of life and may impair occupational,
psychological and social functioning. To date no therapeutic intervention,
besides cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness, has proven to improve
this problem. Cognitive testing is rarely performed in mild cognitive
impairment. Medical interventions have a poor track record with low therapeutic
response rates.


The Solution

The UZA ran a phase-II randomised-control trial
to investigate whether AquaSnap training can improve the quality of life,
subjective and cognitive impairment in non-demented breast cancer patients. The
study will also provide information about the feasibility and compliance of
AquaSnap in an elderly population of non-gamers with mild cognitive deficits.
46 patients of the breast cancer-unit of the Antwerp University Hospital
complaining of chemo-brain voluntarily enrolled; they were aged 18-70 years,
without brain metastasis, signs of dementia, or severe hearing or vision
impairment. They were randomized in two groups: group A played AquaSnap for 6
months and 90 minutes per week. Group B started the same video game after a
waiting period of 3 months and played for 3 months. All patients performed
online cognitive testing at home with MyCQ on a monthly basis. Psychometric
testing was offered at onset, 3- and 6-months using RAND 36, Hospital Anxiety
and Depression Scale, Cognitive Failure Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality
Index and Beck Cognitive Insight Scale.



Impact 

Both groups showed a significant (p<0.05) improvement in cognitive test results (episodic memory, processing speed, working memory, executive function and attention), anxiety, sleep latency time, mental and cognitive health perception, vitality, quality of life, from onset to endpoint. Both groups showed deterioration of self-reflection. Full results are being published.

Patient Feedback

Patients’ self-reported benefits while using AquaSnap were recorded:

‘’It felt like the game reset or was able to
‘clean up’ my mind’’

“Creates awareness of training memory and cognitive functions”

“The game gave insight in learning abilities, which in turns
creates peace of mind”

‘’Awareness about attention or the lack of it in daily life and how
to train it”

‘’Losing ability to remember creates loss of self-certainty;
while getting grip of memory and concentration, enhances self-certainty”


References

Bellens A.,
Sabbe B., van Dam P. (2018). A randomized study comparing two different
training programs, Annals of Oncology, Volume 29, Issue suppl_9, 431P,
https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdy444.011.

"Superagers" Employees' Coaching Journey - Snelstart, NL

The Challenge

Snelstart is an IT company in the Netherlands and, like most companies, has an ageing workforce with increases in health-related issues that impact productivity. Cognitive fitness, psychological wellbeing and mental health are intrinsically linked and contribute significantly to job performance, training success, quality of life and ultimately productivity. Increasing evidence shows that deficits in cognition are predictors and risk factors for mental illness, e.g., depression, anxiety and stress management and quality of life. Poor cognitive fitness also impacts the management of our emotions, coping strategies, and rumination. 


The Solution

The MyCognition cognitive assessment and
training programme was used to measure, monitor and enhance employees’
cognitive fitness and mental wellbeing as a key part of the
Superagers employees’ coaching journey. Superagers is a coaching approach to
enable employees to live better during ageing, through both physical and mental
wellbeing.
Volunteers participated in
individual and group conversations with a coach to raise their awareness about routine
habits and psychological status, which had an impact on their overall wellbeing
and work performance, and to introduce and encourage the usage of MyCQ and
AquaSnap as a part of their journey for three months, with 15 minutes of
cognitive training per day.


Impact

The cognitive training had a positive impact on
MyCQ scores and on health, wellbeing and performance. Thus, it has the
potential to prevent mental illness and build cognitive resilience during
ageing. This is good for the employer, the employee, their company, and for
society in general. Keeping people fit and mentally healthy at work reduces the
burden on the health and social services. Large
improvements in MyCQ scores were reported. Employees moved from poor health
states where they were at risk of mental illness, to good health states. Results
of the study shows that the MyCognition cognitive assessment and training programme
is a feasible, well-accepted and effective solution to improve corporate mental
wellbeing alongside coaching.

References

Ratto M., Siebinga M. (2018), A cognitive training game for corporate wellbeing. Presented at Games for Health Europe Conference 2018, Eindhoven, NL. https://www.gamesforhealtheurope.org/speaker/martina-ratto/

Finance Institution - London UK

The Challenge

None of our work institutions are shielded
completely from stress, but some such as financial institutions, are prone to
it. Chronic stress and chronic poor cognition are a cause of poor mental
health. About 1.5m individuals in the UK with a diagnosed long-term mental
health condition are in work, with 12 million working days being lost due to mental
illness. Over 40% of employees with mental health conditions do not take time
off despite their illness, but often display presenteeism; being at work but
not being productive. Overall, this costs UK employers £33bn – £42bn each year. 


The Solution

The solution is to allow employees to monitor
and strengthen their cognition, while at work. In a study with a financial
institution, MyCQ, the NHS approved assessment of cognition, was made available
to over 300 employees at their London office. These staff were able to
confidentially assess their cognition while working, as a part of the “stress
week” activities within the company. Greater numbers of staff took up this
activity compared to anything else offered. 


Impact

The volunteers cognitive score was on average
67 points, which is some 17 points above that of the general population and is
an indication that, in general, the health of the staff was good. Many
individuals showed a strong, balanced cognitive health. However, a number of individuals
showed specific deficits in more than one domain and a small number showed poor
overall cognitive health. These staff were given specific recommendations on
cognitive training.
  The CEO was able to
state:

“Our employee health initiative runs multiple
events every year, but the response to use MyCognition’s MyCQ assessment has
been the biggest we’ve ever had. It clearly shows how interested our employees
are in their brain health.”

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