Remote Health for the cognitive and mental health of the African American community

New story came out today on the work our group is doing with Dr. Debby Tsuang’s group in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at VA Puget Sound Health Care System to evaluate three different remote/at-home methods of assessing cognitive and mental health of older African Americans, who are at risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. African American communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, which has exacerbated existing racial disparities in dementia diagnosis and care.

In addition to administering remote versions of cognitive screening tests, such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test, the project explores the use of “digital biomarkers” — the tell-tale signs and signals gleaned from modern health devices, such as activity-tracking watches, blood pressure, and oximetry that may relate to changes in brain health with aging.

Part of the excitment for this project is the engagement between older African Americans and their clinical care team in collecting and interpreting routine health measures in the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

This study was funded as one of 24 Innovation Grants from the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions.