Why the BrainTrack app is needed to support early diagnosis of dementia

Dementia Australia’s BrainTrack App

In this guest post, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, Chairman of Dementia Australia, shares some of what drove the development of the BrainTrack app – published earlier today!

Have you ever wondered if forgetting where you put your keys is a normal part of aging? I’m sure it happens for all of us – and it can inspire questioning and, for some, it plants the seeds of self-doubt.

This week, Dementia Australia launched BrainTrack – a free app designed to help anyone who suspects changes in their cognition to self-monitor and discuss the results with their doctor.

The beauty of the app is that it also serves as a source of brain health information for everyone, so it’s an invaluable tool whether you have concerns or just want to know more about the brain health. For many users, BrainTrack will provide reassurance as well as helpful tips for maintaining brain health.

Although BrainTrack does not replace the need for a formal cognitive assessment, it was developed to support the individual and the healthcare professional diagnostic process.

It allows users to measure and track their brain function over time in a simple and private way, and potentially even detect cognitive issues that the user may not be aware of.

Users are invited to log in monthly and take on a series of fun travel-themed games based on validated cognitive tests, to proactively track and monitor their cognition over time. A confidential data-driven report can then be generated in the app using the game results. This report can then be easily emailed as a pdf to the user and used to start a discussion with their general practitioner regarding his cognition.

Why is BrainTrack necessary?

There are almost half a million Australians living with dementia – which is expected to rise to 1.1 million people by 2058.

As with other chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, it is essential that people experiencing early cognitive changes access information, support and services as soon as possible.

General practitioners and other health professions play a vital role in the diagnostic process, and I call on everyone, across the sector, and on all health leaders and leading organizations to lead the way – to download BrainTrack for themselves so they can understand its purpose and encourage their patients to download it as well.

If dementia is diagnosed when changes in cognition begin to occur, steps can be taken that can be life changing and help individuals improve their quality of life and plan for the future.

Early diagnosis means people with dementia can access vital support and resources more quickly. GPs and specialists can refer patients to Dementia Australia, which is an essential first step on the road to diagnosis and support. Dementia Australia is the central entry point in providing pre and post-diagnosis support to people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, their families and carers. We also support people concerned about cognitive changes to help them access appropriate diagnostic services. Significantly, we are also able to proactively reach out to newly diagnosed people, with the consent of their doctor, to offer them information and support regarding their diagnosis and access to a wide range of post -diagnostic.

Referral to paramedics is another key step in the process.

Research indicates that the use of allied health services can slow the progression of cognitive and functional decline, improve quality of life, and delay or prevent admission to seniors’ residences.

Allied health professionals assess physical and cognitive issues and provide interventions to support the maintenance of current strengths and abilities, enhance skill acquisition, and promote recovery, empowerment, and rehabilitation.

There is a clear evidence base demonstrating the benefits of a range of allied health services for people with dementia. By adopting an empowerment and wellness approach, paramedic services can focus on maintaining current strengths and abilities, providing rehabilitation support following acute health events, compensating for functional decline, and promoting well-being and independence.

The right support at the right time can enable people with dementia to retain their independence and functional ability for as long as possible.

BrainTrack was developed to help individuals and healthcare professionals. We believe that the more healthcare professionals know and understand about dementia and how Dementia Australia’s support and services, including post-diagnosis services, can support their patients, the better the healthcare system and experience will be. for all of us.

BrainTrack was funded by the Australian Government and is available for free download now via the Apple App Store or Google Play.