(SAN FRANCISCO) — The National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health has designated BrainHQ online brain exercises, made by Posit Science, as a part of its “Research-Tested Intervention Programs” (RTIPs). BrainHQ is now included in the NCI database of evidence-based cancer interventions and program materials for program planners and public health practitioners.
The RTIPs program was set up by NCI to more rapidly move new science into “programs for people.” It is a searchable database to help practitioners and program planners find evidence-based interventions that have sufficient relevance to be considered for use in real-world settings.
BrainHQ was selected for inclusion into the RTIPs program because it was tested in research studies, produced positive behavioral and psychosocial findings in cancer survivors, and study results were published in peer-reviewed medical journals. These findings were independently reviewed and scored by NCI and its partners as part of the process by which BrainHQ was included in the RTIPs program.
In selecting BrainHQ for RTIPs, NCI looked at published studies on the use of BrainHQ to address common complaints of cognitive impairment associated with cancer and its treatment. These cognitive impairments are often referred to as “cancer-induced cognitive impairment” or, more colloquially, as “chemobrain.” Up to 90 percent of cancer survivors report cognitive issues from cancer or its treatment. There is no widely-accepted treatment for chemobrain.
NCI reviewed an 82-person randomized controlled trial conducted at the University of Indiana, which found that those who used a set of visual processing exercises now found in BrainHQ showed improvements, as compared to the control group, in objective measures of processing speed and verbal memory, as well as on standard measures of perceived cognitive functioning, symptom distress (anxiety, mood, fatigue), and quality of life. NCI also took note of a 242-person pragmatic study led by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia, which found improvements compared to the control group in self-reported cognitive symptoms, symptom distress, and quality of life.
“We are honored that BrainHQ has been selected by the National Cancer Institute for inclusion in the Research-Tested Intervention Programs,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science. “It is our mission to get scientific breakthroughs like brain-plasticity-based training out of the research lab and into the hands of people it can help. That crucially depends on groups like NCI RTIPs to qualitatively evaluate the level of evidence in new scientific fields, so that program planners and public health practitioners can deliver services that improve people’s lives. ”
There are now more than 100 peer-reviewed medical and science journal articles on the benefits of Posit Science exercises and assessments, across varied populations. BrainHQ exercises have been shown to improve standard measures of cognition (speed, attention, memory), quality of life (mood, confidence, health-related quality of life) and real-world activities (gait, balance, driving) in healthy adults.