A New Personalised Therapy to Tackle Dementia
Dementia currently affects over 850,000 people in the UK and this figure is rising year on year. Currently the only validated medical intervention is drugs and these only provide a temporary relief to some symptoms.
A Loughborough based medical and technology company, Brainberry Ltd, is hoping to transform the Dementia treatment landscape. Traditional reminiscence cognitive-behavioural therapies and numerous brain-training apps claim cognitive improvement with no evidence and assume all patients exhibit identical dementia symptoms.
After identifying a huge gap in the dementia market, BrainBerry has developed COSMA software, that tailors gaming therapies for each patient.
The therapy aspect of the tool is backed by the science called ‘Neuroplasticity’ (the ability of the brain to change both physically and functionally throughout one’s life, i.e. neurons may strengthen or weaken over time), currently under ongoing clinical trials.
Kartheka Bojan, MD of Brainberry, explains ‘neuroplasticity allows the brain to adapt and change including how the neural pathways are formed and used. Dementia effectively prevents certain neurons from ‘firing’ which causes loss of cognitive functions. Through neuroplasticity and COSMA it is possible to stimulate the brain to create new neural pathways in the brain regions which are not yet affected by Dementia and allow the user to retain more cognitive process.’
Whilst it may appear at first glance that COSMA is a brain stimulation app, it is in fact far more. COSMA is founded on a scientific premise and several clinical trials are still underway in identifying the full scope of its potential.
COSMA differs from other brain training apps in a number of unique ways, first it is being under clinical validation, second it utilises a personalisation aspect which has not been seen before and thirdly it provides users with continuous monitoring via cognitive, emotional and behavioural reports based on their own results within the therapy.
The personalisation aspect stems from research which has identified that when people with Dementia use personal memories and life experiences, the benefits achieved are enhanced. COSMA enables users to upload their own photos, songs, and life experiences to provide a unique therapy for every user. By focusing on this personalisation, it is possible for users to retain more personal memories and continue to live a more independent life.
The reports generated within the therapy use advanced machine learning and an adaptive algorithm to measure each user’s responses and results. Combined with psychological based questionnaires it is possible to generate a truly personal report so each user can see how they are performing. The therapy also adapts to a user’s capabilities, altering the difficulty to meet changing requirements.
Cosma has recently launched on the market and the initial feedback is positive. As Kartheka mentions “The unique personalisation aspect of Cosma combined with the highly detailed continuous monitoring reports has peaked people’s interest. We are looking to launch both to the public and are involved in talks with care home providers and other interested parties as our aim is to help as many people with dementia as possible.