Category Archives: Digital Therapeutics Research

CogniFit has long been a trusted brain-training tool, helping hundreds of thousands of users strengthen the neural pathways that allow us to use some of our most important cognitive abilities; abilities such as memory, attention, focus, and more.

As CogniFit continues to grow, we are always exploring new ways to leverage our powerful technologies to help people—at home, in the classroom, in the clinician’s office, and beyond.

All of CogniFit’s products—both our selection of engaging brain games and training tasks, as well as our selection of cognitive assessments—have been developed through a collaboration between clinicians, psychologists, cognitive scientists, medical researchers, educators, and software engineers. And it is this foundation in scientific best practices which has allowed us to create fantastic cognitive tools and build valuable partnerships with research teams around the world.

 

This page is for information only. We do not sell any products that treat conditions. CogniFit’s products to treat conditions are currently in validation process. If you are interested please visit CogniFit Research Platform

How Computer-based Training From CogniFit Affects Children’s Executive Functions & Academic Performance

As parents, we are always looking for what is best for our children. We want them to grow up to be healthy, happy, and successful. One of the best ways to set our children up for future success is to provide them with the best possible education. But like in so many areas in the fast-paced, high-tech world we all live in, it can be difficult to keep up with how new technologies are changing our traditional methods of teaching and whether these new tools are actually making a difference.

This is why CogniFit scientists have been teaming up with researchers from around the world to study how computer-based training affects the learning outcomes, executive functions, and academic achievement of children.

About the Study

Researchers Use CogniFit to Study How Computer-Based Training Affects Executive Functions in Children (Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels)

Using computers in schools and other academic settings is not a new idea. In fact, educators have been using computers as an educational tool for decades. However, the body of research into how these tools affect the cognitive executive functions (EFs) that are critical to academic performance remains incomplete and ambiguous.

So, researchers from the Faculty of Education at the University of Murcia (Murcia, Spain), the Center for Cognitive Research at University Antonio de Nebrija (Madrid, Spain), and the Arctic University of Norway (Tromso, Norway), developed a scientific study to “investigate the effects of a computerized game-based training program on EFs and its impact on academic performance…”

The study, which was carried out across more than two dozen schools, took place over 8 weeks. Participating students we asked to complete 3 sessions of 15-20 minutes each per week, with a pre- and post-intervention assessment of the students’ executive functions and information on each student’s academic performance used to measure the efficacy of the intervention.

About the Methodology

Based on the existing body of research on executive functions and learning, the research team identified several executive functions—described as “neurocognitive mechanisms that control thoughts and behaviors aimed at achieving a goal or objective”—which play a fundamental role in the development of skills in language and mathematics as well as in processing and organization of information.

The team grouped the executive functions into three core areas in line with the general consensus throughout the scientific literature: Inhibition, Cognitive Flexibility, and Working Memory.

These three principal executive functions served as the focus for the intervention and the pre- and post-intervention assessments.

Beginning in January of 2021, students across the 26 participating schools were given the pre-intervention evaluation coinciding with the beginning of the academic period, followed by an eight-week experimental intervention, in which the students were assigned to experimental and control groups. A week after completing the classroom intervention, and coinciding with the end of the same academic period, the students completed the post-intervention assessment.

The pre- and post-intervention assessments included a range of measurement tools including the Childhood Executive Function Inventory (CHEXI) to assess executive functions and cognitive abilities such as working memory, planning, regulation, and inhibitory control, the Flanker task to further measure inhibitory control, and the Simon task to measure response time.

In addition to these assessments, the participating students’ academic performance was estimated based on their grades from the corresponding academic periods (the pre-intervention assessment coincided with the end of the first period, while the post-intervention assessment coincided with the completion of the second academic period).

CogniFit’s cognitive assessment and training programs were used for the assessment as well as for the computer-based training intervention program. The program was designed to be integrated into the school routine with the support of the teachers. Teachers received a brief, 30-minute initial training in order to familiarize themselves with the program. Each class had to do 3 sessions per week (preferably on alternate days) for 8 weeks. Each session included 3 games and lasted approximately 15-20 minutes.

A minimum of 14 sessions was established as the objective to be achieved in order to complete the training program. Performance was automatically recorded and uploaded to a server where researchers could confirm compliance. Tutors received information by email or phone once every 2-3 weeks. 

What did the Researchers Find?

Researchers Found Promising Results and Topics for Future Research. (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

After the study was completed, the researchers were able to begin processing the data and found some very promising results, though there are still many questions and future studies to be done.

The results showed an improvement within the training group in the assessments exploring inhibition and working memory, as well as in academic performance, compared to the control group. In contrast, no significant intergroup differences were observed in the chronometric tests measuring inhibition. These results highlight the relevance of computerized EF training programs as part of the educational activities developed at schools.

The results revealed a clear-cut improvement in the academic performance of students who completed the Computer-based Training, which is in line with other recent studies. The improvements took place in the subjects related to language and sciences, suggesting “a significant contribution of the [Computer-based Training] in learning in a school context”.

These findings build on the numerous studies that corroborate the direct relationship between executive functions and academic performance. This improvement of executive functions may also affect other key aspects in learning and academic performance such as the verbal factor, logical reasoning, problem-solving, reasoning, planning, or skills related to reading.

However, the research team does note that despite the overall positive results in this study, the claims made in their analysis must be interpreted with caution, saying “future studies should be aimed at exploring additional components, such as cognitive flexibility”.

You can read the full peer-reviewed scientific publication here.

For more information on CogniFit research, you can visit our CogniFit Research page, outlining our long-term research, partnerships, and more.

CogniFit Partners with Nebrija University to Study Road Safety and Driving Risks

Since our founding over two decades ago, CogniFit has been developing cognitive tools based on the leading neuropsychological research to help people assess and train their cognitive abilities such as focus, divided attention, and response time.

As we have grown, we have begun leveraging the unrivaled tools and cognitive data we have been able to build over these past 20+ years to give back to the scientific community and be an active participant in the cognitive sciences.

One recent example of this is the inter-institutional agreement we have made with Nebrija University. As part of this unique agreement, the Nebrija Research Center in Cognition recently launched the CogniFit Driving Research Unit, an international research team specialized in investigating the relationship between cognitive factors and driving skills.

What is the CogniFit Driving Research Unit?

CogniFit partners with Nebrija University to study driving safety. Photo by why kei on Unsplash

The research unit came about as a natural next step, building on several important scientific studies led by Nebrija University, which explored the cognitive skills necessary for safe driving.

The scientific activity of the CogniFit Driving Research Unit will be coordinated by the director of the Nebrija Research Center in Cognition, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and by José Luis Tapia, a pre-doctoral researcher awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities with a position in the University Teacher Training Program.

The unit will be equipped with modern driving simulators that provide a high level of immersion in realistic environments, and with internationally pioneering software for measuring and training cognitive functions, as well as for assessing driving competence in drivers of all ages.

As part of the partnership, CogniFit will be providing technical support for the research initiative. This support will allow the unit to incorporate driving simulators and digital tools for cognitive assessment and training to promote new scientific projects.

The CogniFit Driving Research Unit at Nebrija University will serve as a meeting point for different research groups, such as the GREEN group, a group specialized in vehicle engineering directed by José Luis Olazagoitia, and the CEDI group, directed by Claudia Poch, which is specialized in cognitive aspects related to education.

Likewise, the unit will have strategic alliances with the Nebrija Automobile Club and with different degrees and postgraduate programs of the Advanced Polytechnic School.

What Projects will the CogniFit Driving Research Unit undertake?

The first projects to be promoted by the CogniFit Driving Research Unit will explore the impact of cognitive estimation skills on driving expertise. Estimation skills allow us to give a reasonable answer to critical questions for which there are no direct answers, such as the speed at which a vehicle is moving, the distance to a pedestrian or an obstacle, or the time that will elapse from the moment we start a maneuver until we can finish it.

Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, the coordinator of the unit, explains that “although for most people driving is a common, simple, and automated activity, it requires a series of complex cognitive processes that integrate multiple sensory, cognitive and motor functions”.

The CogniFit Driving Research Unit will develop research projects to explore these processes, evaluate them and train them in order to prevent, as much as possible, an estimation error from leading to tragic consequences. Thus, “the unit is born with an applied scientific orientation and aims to provide knowledge that will help prevent accidents,” says Duñabeitia.

We at CogniFit, the world’s leading company in the development of cognitive assessment and intervention tools, are excited to be a part of this exciting partnership and are pleased to be able to share our data analysis and cognitive training tools available to researchers.

Our CEO, Carlos Rodríguez, believes that “this unit will serve as a link between the scientific field, insurance companies, and public and private institutions aimed at creating safer cities.”

Tell us what you think in the comments below and let us know if you have any questions!

The Cognitive Research Platform: Introducing CogniFit for Researchers

CogniFit has been a trusted brain-training tool for over 20 years, helping millions of users strengthen the neural pathways that allow us to use some of our most important cognitive abilities; abilities such as memory, attention, focus, and more.

As CogniFit continues to grow, we are always exploring new ways to leverage our powerful technologies to help people—at home, in the classroom, in the clinician’s office, and beyond.

All of CogniFit’s products—both our selection of engaging brain games and training tasks, as well as our selection of cognitive assessments—have been developed through a collaboration between clinicians, psychologists, cognitive scientists, medical researchers, educators, and software engineers. And it is this foundation in scientific best practices which has allowed us to develop one of our most exciting new offerings: the Cognitive Research Platform.

A powerful Cognitive Research Platform for Scientific Investigation

Based on the same core cognitive training and assessment technology already being used and trusted by clinicians, teachers, and families across the globe, the new Cognitive Research Platform has been developed with the specific needs of research teams undertaking clinical, scientific, experimental studies in the areas of cognitive health and well-being in mind.

The platform offers all of the features that have made our other professional platforms, such as the Platform for Health Professionals and the Platform for Educators, so popular; features such as the ability to quickly and easily manage and track multiple users, create groups to organize interventions, and the ability to communicate with users—redesigned with the specific needs of researchers in mind. In addition to these features common across all of our professional tools, the Cognitive Research Platform also includes unique features designed specifically for researchers, such as the ability to assign participants to experimental and control groups with multiple cognitive training intervention options—participants can be assigned personalized training with algorithmically-adjusted difficulty, non-personalized “placebo” training set to the lowest difficulty each session, providing researchers the ability to study the effects of personalized cognitive training versus generic brain games—as well as easy to use methods for collecting and exporting data for analysis including indexed data related to each variable in the study and reference data for calculating fundamental information such as the Z-score.

Adding Participants to Groups in the Cognitive Research Platform.

Another unique aspect of the research platform is the ability for researchers to design investigations focused on specific brain conditions and pathologies (such as Depression, Parkinson’s, and ADHD) in addition to the general cognitive abilities available in the other professional and consumer platforms (such as Memory, Coordination, and Mental Arithmetic).

The Research Platform Opens Exciting New Doors for CogniFit

Though the Cognitive Research Platform is a relatively new venture for CogniFit, we are already seeing interest and, importantly, adoption of the platform in the research community.

Several studies are already underway, using the Cognitive Research Platform to investigate critical cognitive health issues such as how cognitive decline associated with aging can affect the workplace and how cognitive training can improve the productivity of age-diverse teams and how cognitive training can alleviate some of the most common secondary symptoms of Epilepsy such as changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, and cognitive and learning difficulties.

As we continue to build valuable partnerships with research teams across the globe, we are greatly increasing our ability to explore the role that cognitive training—not only for general cognitive abilities, but importantly, for specific brain conditions and pathologies—has in improving our cognitive health and well-being.

Developing this deeper understanding of the real-world impacts of specific cognitive abilities and brain conditions, and the effects that cognitive training can have, will allow us to continue to develop our core technologies, improve the efficacy of our current training and assessment tools, and create the next generation of CogniFit products for new segments of the cognitive health market.

Conclusion

We are fortunate to live in a world where the average person lives longer than ever before, where many of the physical ailments affecting humanity have effective remedies, and where nutritional food is readily available to so many of us.

And though we, as humans, still have plenty of work to do in these areas of physical health, the progress we have already made means that we are now able to focus more attention on the mental-health needs of a global population which is dealing more than ever with the effects of cognitive decline due to aging demographics, increased stress- and attention-related cognitive issues due to an always-on, always-connected culture in both our professional and personal lives, and more.

Our goal at CogniFit is to be a leader in this paradigm shift towards providing support and solutions for the increasingly important mental and cognitive health needs of the global community, and we believe that the Cognitive Research Platform is a key piece of this ongoing journey.

The DINNOS Project: How researchers are using CogniFit to study the effects of age diversity in the workplace

As workers move throughout their career, they learn new skills, obtain valuable experience, and become knowledgeable in the important details of their role and their industry. However, this experience doesn’t come without a trade-off. As these veteran employees grow older, they can lose some of the cognitive flexibility and sharpness they had as younger workers just entering the workforce.

And, though it may seem like building teams with members of the same or similar ages would create more fluent and effective communication and less emotional and cultural conflicts, when businesses can successfully take advantage of the unique value team members from across the age spectrum are able to provide, there is potential for the development of new ideas and innovations as these varied experiences and backgrounds mix.

But how can businesses ensure these diverse teams members come together to form a cohesive unit and that employees are able to bring the most value in their roles throughout their career.

Understanding How Businesses Can Create Successful Age-Diverse Teams

The research team behind The DINNOS Project has taken up this exact question in an attempt to address the challenges businesses face when building groups with ‘age heterogeneous team composition’.

This project, which will be evaluating hundreds of small- and medium-sized businesses across the United Kingdom and Germany will focus on two distinct factors which affect the creation of successful age-diverse teams: How managers build and lead teams, and how the cognitive state of older employees affects the success of the teams.

For the first aspect, the researchers will be looking at the effects of leadership training for managers, and for the second, they will be studying the effect of cognitive training for older employees.

Using CogniFit’s Cognitive Training to Improve Workplace Outcomes?

For any employee to be successful, regardless of age, they need to have the appropriate Cognitive Ability—defined in this study as “a general mental capability involving reasoning, problem-solving, planning, abstract thinking, complex idea comprehension, and learning from experience”—required by the role.

The DINNOS Project has partnered with CogniFit to measure and train the cognitive abilities of older employees in areas such as Memory Processes (e.g., Short-term Memory), Executive Functions (e.g., Inhibition and Attention), Processing Speed (e.g., Response Time), and Logical Reasoning (e.g., Planning).

By understanding how the cognitive state of these employees affects the performance of age-diverse teams—and importantly, the role that cognitive training plays in mitigating the negative effects of the aging brain—the researchers hope to be able to develop systems to help businesses create thriving, successful age-diverse teams.

Conclusion

We look forward to posting a follow-up with some of the important insights the research team learns once the results have been collected and analyzed.

For more information on the DINNOS Project, visit their website at https://dinnos-h2020.com/.

CogniFit Collaborates With Research Universities on Epilepsy Study

Epilepsy is a unique neurological condition characterized by unpredictable seizures and other health problems. But even though it is the 4th most common neurological condition and affects more than 65 million people worldwide, there are often misconceptions and lack of general understanding of what Epilepsy is.

While many people have heard of the disorder, many have an incorrect understanding of what Epilepsy is, assuming the someone with this disorder will instantly go into seizure at the sight of flashing lights.

The truth of the matter is much more complex, and the effects of Epilepsy, including seizures, are much more nuanced. As a neurological condition affecting the brain, Epilepsy can lead to changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, and even cognitive and learning difficulties, depending on the areas of the brain affected.

These less visible effects of Epilepsy drew the attention of researchers from Impulso Cognitivo and the University of Antonio de Nebrija in Spain, who have developed a study using CogniFit’s Platform for Researchers to investigate the influence that cognitive training for executive functions has on the cognitive abilities of adults with Epilepsy, and whether it can potentially mitigate these secondary cognitive effects.

The “EpiCog” Project from Impulso Cognitivo and the University of Antonio de Nebrija

CogniFit Epilepsy Study

Research scientists, lead by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia Landaburu and Maria Calvo recently began their investigation, working with 80 patients with Epilepsy between the ages of 18 and 60 years old, and will continue to work with the participants over a period of months.

At the beginning of the study, each participant was given the CogniFit General Assessment Battery to determine a baseline score for several cognitive abilities. After this initial measurement, participants were randomly assigned to groups. The control group were tasked with playing CogniFit games without the active training algorithm to adjust difficulty and present participants with a challenging cognitive exercise. The second group were tasked with completing CogniFit games using the unique training algorithm, providing a more challenging cognitive training regimen.

The Epilepsy Training contains 19 Stimulation Games (to strengthen cognitive abilities), 8 Assessment Tasks (to measure progress) and focuses on measuring 4 Cognitive Skills: Inhibition, Monitoring, Working memory and Cognitive flexibility.

When to Expect Analysis and Results

This unique research project will take place over the next months, after which point the research team will compile and analyze the collected data, with results expected to be ready in the summer of 2021.

CogniFit Estimation Score as a Predictor of Group Automotive Accident Risk

Our world has been greatly affected by the presence of the automobile; from the way we design our metropolitan and national infrastructures, to the way we relax and vacation, to the way we run our errands and get to work. 

The automobile has made our lives easier in many ways and has given millions of people around the world freedom of movement that would have seemed impossible only a few hundred years ago. 

As the automobile became more and more intertwined into our societies, so to have the inherent dangers of operating these machines. Signs, signals, and safety features were added to the roads, and seat belts, air bags, and—more recently—Advanced Driver Assistance Systems such as automatic breaking and lane departure warnings were added to vehicles to help prevent these risks. But even with the addition of these safety systems, there is still an inherent risk any time a driver gets behind the wheel.

Researchers used data gathered through the CogniFit platform to investigate the cognitive and psychomotor risk factors associated with automobile accidents and has developed a unique estimation index that can help predict the risk of being involved in an automobile accident.

CogniFit as an Investigative Tool for Predicting Vehicle Accident Risk

CogniFit’s tasks for measuring estimation capacity (included in the driving test) has been used by the Center for Cognitive Science of the Nebrija University of Madrid in collaboration with The Arctic University of Norway to investigate cognitive and psychomotor risk factors associated with traffic accidents, as well as to develop a unique estimation index that can help predict the risk of suffering a traffic accident.

The main objective of this research was to show if older drivers have more accidents and if these tend to be more serious. To do this, they have carried out a comparative study where they have looked to see if there really is a relationship between the score obtained in the estimation tasks of the CogniFit driving test and the number of total accidents.

Subsequently, it has been reviewed whether, in addition, the CogniFit scores provide an additional benefit for the prediction of any type of car accident.

How was the CogniFit Estimation score developed?

The researchers analyzed data collected through the CogniFit platform on the cognitive skills related to estimation ability of 20,231 participants (10,627 female, 9,606 males) across 123 countries. The data, measuring participants’ ability to estimate the duration, speed, and distance of stimuli, as well as their understanding of how the speed and distance of an object affected its movement, were compiled into a composite index measuring each participant’s estimation abilities. 

Subsequently, the mean percentages of precision for both men and women on the CogniFit tasks were compared to raw data from male and female drivers involved in 1) fatal crashes, 2) injury crashes, and 3) crashes with material damage.

Finally, an analysis was carried out where the data of the different types of accidents were related by type and sex of the total, and the age of the drivers, their gender, and their CogniFit score as predictors.

The results showed a predictive power of age, and gender, showing that older drivers were involved in fewer fatal accidents than young people and that women had fewer fatal accidents than men. The CogniFit score also showed a direct relationship between a person’s estimation skills and the number of fatal accidents.

How can the CogniFit Estimation score help?

Based on the findings of the analysis of data and the robust relationship between CogniFit’s Estimation score and various types of traffic accidents, we can see that the CogniFit Estimation score can predict the group probability of being involved in a fatal car accident (accounting for 98.3% of the variance), of being involved in an accident with injuries (explaining 96.2% of the variance), and of being involved in accidents with material damage (explaining 95.8% of the variance).

Understanding how age, gender, and the cognitive skills related website to estimation affect the risk index of drivers serves not only to know which drivers are most at risk of suffering fatal vehicle accidents, but can also serve as the basis for future research into whether training these core cognitive skills can reduce the risk of accidents in the future. 

CogniFit’s Driving Cognitive Assessment

How can CogniFit help you understand your driving risk?

CogniFit offers a unique cognitive assessment for drivers, the Online Cognitive Assessment Battery for Driving (DAB), which uses digital neuropsychological tasks to assess a user’s cognitive capacity and attitude to drive efficiently and safely.

The results provided by this neuropsychological assessment include relevant information that can help predict the quality of vehicle handling and identify the risk index or accident tendency of a driver.

This digital driving test is performed online and lasts approximately 30-40 minutes. At the end of the evaluation, users receive a complete report of results with useful and comprehensible information about driving ability, performance, and cognitive skills. 

Whether you or a loved one have been driving for decades or are preparing to take the driver’s license exam for the first time, the Driving Cognitive Assessment from CogniFit can help you feel confident you understand your driving risk.