National Post


Take the free online assessment created by leading brain health scientists.

- Gavin Davidson

This online test can determine if your memory is normal or if you should see a doctor.

Most adults find it more difficult to remember names, faces, and dates as they age. But many struggle to get an answer to the question, are those changes due to normal aging or are they an early sign of something more serious such as Alzheimer’s Disease?

That is why Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in the research on memory and aging, created the Cogniciti Brain Health Assessment. This online tool has been designed to meet the needs of concerned boomers and seniors. It is free, private, online, takes just 20 minutes to complete, and has been research- validated to provide adults ages 50–79 with an immediate brain health score and an answer to the question — is my memory normal or should I see my doctor?

More than 50,000 Cogniciti assessment­s have been completed by adults across Canada and beyond. If you have a desktop or laptop computer with internet access you can too. Simply go to Cogniciti’s website:

Managing your brain health made easy

In addition to helping adults proactivel­y manage their brain health, Cogniciti’s assessment is playing an important role in developing the next generation of dementia therapies. Historical­ly, researcher­s have focused on finding solutions for people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. While this important work continues, new research is concentrat­ing on prevention: helping adults at risk of dementia stay healthy longer.

“Once Alzheimer’s disease starts interferin­g with day- to- day living doctors can’t do anything to stop its progressio­n. But medical science does know how to maximize healthy living in cognitivel­y healthy adults and those with dementia through smart lifestyle choices such as exercise and diet,” says Michael Meagher, President and CEO of Cogniciti ( a subsidiary of Baycrest). “In addition, there are now numerous drugs in clinical trials that developers hope will become ‘ statins for the brain’ — drug therapies that lower the risk of Alzheimer’s in adults with risk factors. The challenge for scientists is to speed the best of these solutions from the lab to those in need.”

A big hurdle in getting new brain health drug and non- drug therapies to market is recruiting enough volunteers into clinical trials. The traditiona­l process of finding volunteers through doctors’ offices isn’t effective, because adults who see their doctor for a memory issue are often too far into the disease process to qualify for at- risk studies. And print andTV ads have been attracting too many healthy adults. Cogniciti’s assessment addresses this issue by inviting adults who have completed the test to join a free Research Registry for brain health studies. Cogniciti’s team uses the data from the assessment to match Registry volunteers to clinical research studies that fit their brain health scores and health history. The result: a much smoother and effective process for all concerned.

The importance of being proactive

Shirley Whitfield knows all too well how dementia can shatter lives. Both of her parents and all four of her grandparen­ts suffered from the disease.

“I remember as a young child being quite frightened by the behaviours of my grandparen­ts due to the impact of their cognitive disorders,” says the Windsor, ON resident.

Dementia also figured prominentl­y in Whitfield’s work life. A retired geriatrics nurse, she regularly witnessed how memory problems frustrated patients and diminished their quality of life. This aging- related disease is more topof- mind for Whitfield now that she’s approachin­g 70, and because dementia is often genetic.

“My personal history combined with my work experience have left me hungry for better ways to proactivel­y manage my brain health,” she says.

Proactivel­y managing your brain health is easy. All it takes is 20 minutes and a visit to www.

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