May 20, 2024

San Francisco — A newly published study showed that it is feasible for people to measure their brain health anywhere, at any time. The study looked at 29 assessments of brain performance designed by Posit Science, the maker of the brain health app BrainHQ.

While an annual physical is recommended for most people, it’s unusual for an adult to undergo a cognitive check-up absent some sort of cognitive event (e.g., a concussive or other brain injury, early symptoms of what could be dementia, or persistent brain fog related to Covid or other causes). Even then, getting a cognitive assessment often takes months to arrange, can require travel to see a health care provider specializing in cognition, and typically lacks a pre-incident baseline for comparison.

“We set out to develop a toolbox of assessments that could be used by most people on their own to perform a reliable and fairly comprehensive cognitive assessment, which would adapt to each user and could be used by individuals and their healthcare providers, much like a blood test, to support quick initial evaluation and for monitoring ongoing function,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, and a co-author of the study. “In recent years, we’ve worked with everyone from people with brain fog to people optimizing peak brain performance, such as elite athletes and teams, members of special forces, and even folks at NASA. They all want an easy way to get a baseline measure of brain performance, and then measure changes that occur over time. To do that, it’s important to make brain health assessments easy, accurate, and accessible to everyone.”

The 414-person study found “the assessments were usable, feasible, and had useful performance distributions.” As expected (because the brain typically slows and becomes less accurate with advancing age), the study showed a significant relationship between age and performance across most assessments. Relationships between levels of education and performance and between race/ethnicity and performance were not significant in almost all assessments, and were not significant between gender and performance in most assessments. On average, each assessment took 3-4 minutes to self-administer. The researchers noted: “Fourteen assessments in particular showed favorable psychometric properties that predictably scaled with age and were insensitive to differences in gender, level of education, and race/ethnicity.”

The researchers noted that smaller batteries of assessments could be easily configured to quickly track areas of particular interest in as little as six minutes.

“A remote assessment battery is not intended to be a pure substitute for traditional neuropsychological testing,” noted Dr. Mahncke. “As brain health screening and tracking become a mainstay of medical practice, we expect it will allow healthcare providers, systems, and plans to remotely screen patients, and prioritize at-risk individuals for a full diagnostic workup. It should also allow earlier detection and treatment, and ongoing monitoring of the trajectory of conditions.”

“Because these assessments closely correlate to BrainHQ exercises, they should also make it much easier and efficacious to target areas of improvement with specific brain exercises,” Dr. Mahncke added.

BrainHQ has shown benefits in hundreds of studies. Such benefits include gains in cognition (attention, speed, memory, decision-making), in quality of life (depressive symptoms, confidence and control, health-related quality of life) and in real-world activities (health outcomes, balance, driving, workplace activities). BrainHQ is offered, without charge, by leading national and 5-star Medicare Advantage plans and by leading medical centers, clinics, and communities. Consumers can try a BrainHQ exercise for free daily at