Research suggests that there is a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline in people with cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs). Remote cognitive assessments in people with CVRFs can prevent further cognitive decline that are secondary to CVRFs. A new proof-of-concept study finds that a self-administered cognitive assessment through the BrainHQ app could help predict accelerating cognitive decline in patients with CVRFs such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation. 

A unique perspective of this study is that it used mHealth (mobile health) technology to conduct cognitive performance of middle-aged to older adults. The assessments in the study were driven through BrainHQ exercises that in other studies show improved health outcomes and better patient-self care management. Other similar studies required in-person neuropsychological testing to analyze cognitive decline.

The study concludes that subtle cognitive deficits in otherwise healthy individuals (but with CVRFs) could be detected through remotely-administered cognitive assessment. Remote testing could lead to treatment to help prevent further decline of brain health related to CVRFs. 

According to the 3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 50% women and 60% men have 1 to 2 CVRFs. These risk factors increase with age. If we could find a way to closely monitor cognitive decline related to CVRFs, we could hope to encourage lifestyle changes to prevent further decline. The apparent association between CVRFs and cognitive decline using assessments could be used to target individuals with modifiable CVRFs. Telehealth services could help prevent or treat cognitive decline through early interventions. 

The BrainHQ app is freely available through Medicare Advantage plans, retirement communities, libraries, medical centers, and employers. Users can test the app for free at