The Brain Health Initiative (BHI) announces that it will begin conducting a brain health validation study for the Brain Health Vital Signs™ (BHVS) screener by the end of 2022.
The study will focus on the growing research that brain health and performance are enhanced across the lifespan by lifestyle and that brain illness, including symptoms of cognitive decline, is not inevitable. Many lifestyle factors (e.g., physical activity, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, stress resilience, and cognitive stimulation) are not only protective, but actually, lower the risk of brain illness and contribute to increased cognitive reserve that, for example, help the brain optimally perform, recover from brain injury, and withstand the decline typically associated with aging. However, there appears to be limited public knowledge and awareness of how lifestyle factors can affect brain health and functioning, and possibly reduce brain health risks.
Brain Health Vital Signs™ (BHVS) is a short, user-friendly, easy to administer screening tool that measures evidence-based factors that contribute to brain health and brain illness (protective and risk factors), as well as cognitive functioning for ages 14+.
The goal of the study is to validate the screener with up to 360 participants recruited from the Suncoast region of Florida and up to 360 participants from other parts of the globe. The participants will represent three cohort groups, including a youth group (age 14 to 25), an adult group (age 26 to 64), and a senior group (age 65+). Having a validated instrument will provide evidence and support regarding the efficacy of the technology to screen key lifestyle factors that impact brain health.
The Brain Health Vital Signs™ screener was developed by an extensive team of scientists and clinicians from the International Brain Health Education Institute, Brain Health Initiative, Harvard University, and beyond with expertise in neuroscience, neurodevelopment, psychopathology, neuropsychology, aging, and brain health. After consulting with clinicians and researchers, and conducting an extensive search for studies in the scientific databases documenting physical conditions, environmental conditions, brain events, and lifestyle choices that impact brain illness and brain health, the Brain Health Vital Signs™ team developed subscales for risk factors and protective factors for brain health. A set of potential items for each subscale were selected by adapting candidate items from existing measures of similar constructs. The screener includes five subscales of current and pre-existing conditions and ten subscales measuring risk and protective factors. All risk and protective factors can be modified and improved with lifestyle behavior changes. 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 by 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 be used 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, as well as the identification of 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 provide an indication of when a referral for additional evaluation would be valuable/advised.
Interested in Being a Participant?
Please complete this form and we will contact you when we are ready to announce the start date to sign up and provide more information on the study.