A new app launched by Dementia Australia helps individuals monitor and understand changes in cognition in an effort to facilitate early diagnosis.
Called BrainTrack, the app enables people to explore common cognitive concerns and provides brain health information through games and puzzles adapted from evidence-based cognitive tests.
Funded by the federal government and developed by Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, BrainTrack was officially launched by Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler during a webinar hosted by Dementia Australia in October.
“This app has been designed to stimulate and promote brain health conversations between GPs, conversations between patients and their families,” said Mr Butler.
The aim of the app is to shorten the lead-up time to a formal diagnosis “which will help families and people living with dementia manage their diagnosis on their own terms,” he said.
While BrainTrack doesn’t replace the need for a formal cognitive assessment, it provides “an opportunity to start a discussion between people who might have memory concerns and their doctor as soon as possible,” said Mr Butler.
Up to half a million Australians are currently living with dementia; this is projected to increase by 1.1 million people by 2058, making early diagnosis a priority.
Dementia Australia medical advisor Associate Professor Michael Woodward said the right support at the right time can enable people with dementia to maintain their independence and functional capacity for as long as possible.
“Health and allied health professional play an important role in helping people living with dementia to live well for longer. By assessing physical and cognitive issues they can provide interventions to support the maintenance of current strengths and capacities, improve skill acquisition and promote recovery, enablement and rehabilitation.”