Close-up of a digital tablet with brain x-ray on screen.
Alzheimer’s screening tools are critical for patient care. (Credit: Teera Konakan / Getty Images)

A newly updated cognitive testing platform joins the growing arms race among healthtech companies to create new tools for early screening and diagnosing of dementia. 

The number of people living with dementia in senior living communities and nursing homes is growing rapidly, and this is a particular concern within skilled nursing facilities that are not designed specifically for memory care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reported this year. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 48% percent of nursing home residents are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, and among older adults in residential facilities, including assisted living, 42% or more have some form of Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

But as the number of older adults with Alzheimer’s or other dementias increases, so does the technology aimed at assisting them. 

Much of that tech landscape is aimed at earlier screening options, because the earlier such conditions can be diagnosed, the sooner people can receive care options and help slow or prevent the disease from eroding their cognitive function and leading to death.

The new screening platform, BrainCheck Screen, was unveiled at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference in Boston this week. 

The platform, which can be accessed via any internet-connected device, serves several functions, including screening, assessment, care-planning and monitoring, BrainCheck CEO Kim Rodriguez said. 

“The latest version [of BrainCheck] brings cognitive care to the next level,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “We believe passionately that earlier is better and access should not be a barrier.”

BrainCheck’s cognitive assessment is designed to be completed in three minutes and its accuracy was validated in clinical trials, company spokespersons said, adding that the data collected by BrainCheck’s platform is designed to be easily integrated into electronic health records.

Other new tools aimed at early Alzheimer’s detection include a headband that monitors sleep patterns, and AI models that can calculate patient risk profiles. 

Including BrainCheck, not only are there new screening tools, but a new drug, lecanemab (Leqembi), received FDA approval this year as a means to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s. New drugs’ potential effects are significant enough that federal agencies have instituted regulatory changes expanding older adults’ access to more sophisticated screening tools, such as PET scans.