Neureka! Brain health research is leaving the lab and coming to your smartphone

The COVID-19 pandemic has made many aspects of face-to-face research impossible for the foreseeable future, pushing scientists to explore remote ways of continuing their research and collecting data.

But even before the pandemic, a seismic shift in this direction was already taking place in the field of brain health. Traditional methods in mental health and dementia research would normally see research participants visit a lab to perform tests, however this method has historically led to difficulties in enrolling large enough samples of people to yield compelling and reproducible datasets.

While numbers in the hundreds might be enough to show if a drug can have a significant effect on a brain function such as memory, when researchers are trying to identify what predisposes the brain to develop depression or dementia and how and why the brain changes in these disorders, thousands of participants may be needed to yield conclusive results.

Now scientists at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at Trinity College Dublin hope to tackle this problem using a new smartphone app to carry out a range of major research projects designed to tackle the brain basis of disorders of the mind – from the most widespread mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, to dementia, a problem of increasing global concern as our populations live longer.

The new smartphone app, called neureka, launched on Tuesday, June 2nd, is a collection of research studies delivered through brain games and self-reflection challenges that allow users to have fun and learn about themselves, while also playing a major part in cutting edge scientific research.

Among several research studies delivered through the app, one will help the team at GBHI to identify modifiable risk factors for disorders of the mind – things that individuals and policy-makers can do to prevent people from developing these potentially devastating conditions.

Please read the attached Information Sheet for more information.

You can also learn more about project HERE