Above: The BrainyApp Ambassadors – Lily Serna from SBS’ Letters and Numbers, dementia expert Dr Michael Valenzuela and Dr Christine Bennett, chair of the Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee.

By Yasmin Noone

A new iPhone application, designed to educate and enable individuals to reduce their risk of developing dementia, has been ranked number one by Facebook, after scoring the ‘top free app’ title on the social media network throughout both Australia in New Zealand.

The world’s first brain health application, dubbed the BrainyApp by creators Alzheimer’s Australia and Bupa Health Foundation, hit number one spot in the Australian App Store last week, with 41,000 downloads, only 48 hours after it was officially launched.

In New Zealand, it was much the same story as the BrainyApp climbed quickly to the number three spot in the New Zealand App Store ratings in around the same timeframe.

The app’s success can be either attributed to the positive health prevention benefits it offers users, or the competition which promises everyone who downloads the app a chance to win an iPad2. Either way, the BrainyApp creators are stoked with the overwhelming and unexpected results. 

“It is exceptional for an app like this to climb so quickly to the top of the charts,” said managing director of software company b2cloud, Josh Guest, who developed the app. 

“It shows that people have a real interest in this area.”

CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, Glenn Rees, agreed. He believes the rapid success of BrainyApp demonstrates that Australians want to do more to improve their brain health.

“It is fantastic to see that Australians want to make active lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of developing dementia,” Mr Rees said. 

”It would be good if BrainyApp was a game changer in persuading governments to take dementia risk reduction seriously.

“…There is no cure for dementia, which means that we need to give priority to initiatives such as BrainyApp that raise awareness of dementia, and help people to understand and reduce their risk of developing the condition.”

The brain/heart health app was based on the Alzheimer’s Australia program, Mind Your Mind, and the latest scientific research about what is good for the brain and heart functioning, and information surrounding cardiovascular disease and dementia risk reduction.

Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee, Dr Christine Bennett, explained that the app focuses on both brain and heart health because research now links cardiovascular disease reduction strategies with good brain health techniques – that is, the same things that help to prevent heart disease will also, possibly, help to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

“We are not saying that this app is a [prevention] guarantee,” said Dr Bennett. “We are saying it will reduce your risk of dementia.”

According to both the BrainyApp and Dr Bennett, to improve brain and heart health, people “…must not smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol, eat healthily, exercise regularly for about 30 minutes a day, check your cholesterol levels and know their blood pressure.” 

The app features a scored health survey, offers health tips according to the user’s score out of 1600, provides brain heart health information and a range of games to improve brain health. It also allows users to share their survey score and progress on Facebook.

Dr Bennett said that, this time around, an app was preferable to a series of documents because online in 2011 is the only way to go, especially to reach the desired target group of those aged 30 to 50.

“If we really want to engage people and support them in behavioural change, then we thought we would do it through this mechanism as we can do that cheaply and get effective results.

“If you are not online, you don’t exist these days. The internet is a powerful tool for promoting good health and giving people the means to be healthy.”

The BrainyApp is available as a free download for users of iPhone, iPod and iPad devices from the App Store.

To be in the running to win an iPad2, the BrainyApp must be downloaded by Tuesday 29 November.

For more information about BrainyApp, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m very interested in your BrainyApp however I haven’t (unlike many millions of others) purchased an iPhone/iPad or an Android. I’m just your old fashioned type of gal with a PC. It would be very much appreciated if you could point me in the right direction. I must point out Lumosity and I recently enjoyed a brief “romance” (two tests), however I was a little wary of the possibility of risking the “health” of my PC and the contents and as a consequence cancelled. I look forward to receiving some positive feedback. Kindest Regards. Anastasia

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