Newly launched, Brain U Online aims to stymie dementia in aging consumers

By Dave Muoio

Dementia-focused tech company Smart Brain Aging has announced the launch its virtual offering for the aging population.

Called Brain U Online, the service provides consumers with cognitive tasks that when paired with exercise have, according to the company, been proven to delay the progression of dementia and limit its negative impact.

“We developed Smart Brain Aging with one purpose: to help prevent, delay, and reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia so that patients can continue to live full, independent lives even after diagnosis,” Dr. John DenBoer, CEO and founder of SMART Brain Aging, said in a statement. “Let me be clear, this is not a ‘brain game'. It is the first and only scientifically-supported digital therapy program developed specifically for aging adults who want to maintain healthy brain function and those suffering from the early stages of dementia.”

Also available as an app called Brain U Lite, the subscription-based online service is built from a similar foundation to Smart Brain Aging’s clinic-based, one-on-one cognitive health intervention. The online software’s more than 20,000 exercises are each developed to focus on various cognitive skills such as processing speed, memory, and concentration, with hundreds of similar exercises available through the app reworked for mobile use. Also included is a virtual classroom, where users can engage in social activities and conversations with others.

According to a statement, both versions of the service are designed with common impairments in mind, including visual and hearing difficulty or physical tremors. The company noted that its approach has been shown to reduce the negative cognitive impact of dementia by 45 percent and delay its progression by 2.5 years, although these outcomes have only been demonstrated with the company’s brick-and-mortar offerings. As such, a more focused study of Brain U Online and Brain U Lite’s efficacy are currently underway, according to the company’s website.

“Dr. DenBoer and his team have developed a program, based on many years of research and backed by scientific evidence, that has had a positive impact on improving and preserving the lives of thousands of aging individuals and dementia sufferers,” Dr. Paul Nussbaum, clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct associate professor in neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a statement from the company. “We need to bring these types of intervention programs to more patients and caregivers so they can be empowered to live their best lives.”

Smart Brain Aging was founded in 2016 following years of dementia research and trials conducted at Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine, according to a release.

Brain health offerings remain a regular focus within digital health. In March, for instance, Neurotrack’s memory loss assessment and online prevention tool brought in $13.7 million in Series B funding, while a number of other industry figures have spoken on the viability of similar digital approaches within the cognitive space.

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