The Brain Health Initiative (BHI) will begin a correlational validation study for the Brain Health Vital Signs™ (BHVS) screener July, 2023. The study is open to all volunteer participants ages 14 and up.
The validation study will focus on the growing research that lifestyle behaviors enhance brain health and performance across the lifespan and that brain illness, including anxiety, depression, and symptoms of dementia, are often preventable.
According to Dr. Stephanie Peabody, Director of the BHI and a principal investigator in the study, “Many lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, stress resilience, and cognitive stimulation, are protective and lower the risk of brain illness for all ages. These factors contribute to increased physical and cognitive reserve that helps the brain optimally perform at any age, and recover from assaults to the brain, including illness and injury. Brain healthy lifestyle factors build resilience to the decline typically associated with aging.”
Dr. Shelley Carson, Harvard Lecturer, BHI scientist, and a principal investigator in the study, affirmed that “research also indicates that there is limited public knowledge and awareness of how lifestyle factors can affect brain health and functioning. This study will increase public awareness of our ability to enhance our brain health through lifestyle changes and reduce risk of brain illness.”
Interested in Being a Participant?
To participate in the adult study (age 18+) click on this link.
To participate in the youth study (age 14-17 ) click on this link.
If you are between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age, this link will also provide a parent/guardian consent form that needs to be completed for you to participate.
Participation is on a volunteer basis and is entirely anonymous.
More about Brain Health Vital Signs™
Brain Health Vital Signs™ (BHVS) is a short, user-friendly, easy-to-administer screening tool that measures evidence-based factors contributing to brain health and brain illness (protective and risk factors) and cognitive functioning for ages 14+.
An extensive team of scientists and clinicians from the Brain Health Initiative, Harvard University, and other experts with expertise in neuroscience, neurodevelopment, psychopathology, neuropsychology, aging, and brain health developed the Brain Health Vital Signs™ screener.
The screener includes five current and pre-existing conditions subscales and ten subscales measuring risk and protective factors. Lifestyle behavior changes can modify and improve all risk and protective factors. Once validated, the screener can be adopted in any setting, including primary care, schools, workplace EAP settings, fitness and wellness centers, community health clinics, community events and centers, libraries, and families at home. The screener will provide users with personalized scores, interpretations, and tips for improvement for each risk and protective factor.
Because Brain Health Vital Signs™ is a screening tool, it is not intended to diagnose any particular illness. It also does not replace consultation with a qualified physician or other healthcare professional. However, the screener may be helpful in the early identification of potential brain health and performance concerns and in identifying areas of strength. Results can provide a baseline that can be used for monitoring brain health across the lifespan, intervention planning, and future comparison. The screener may also indicate when a referral for additional evaluation would be valuable/advised.