The Neureka Project is run by researchers from the Gillan Lab at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) in Trinity College Dublin. The project combines mobile technology with citizen science to help create a clearer picture of what keeps the brain healthy. The Neureka App asks members of the public to participate in neuroscience research at home, by playing games and tracking their mood and behaviour over time. With thousands of people already involved, this ‘big data’ helps researchers figure out new ways of keeping mental health problems at bay, and promoting resilience to late life cognitive decline. In the longer term, we hope to use data from neureka to screen for individuals at risk of developing mental health disorders or dementia.
Brain health is complex. While research has identified numerous risk factors for dementia and mental health conditions, progress has stalled with the realisation that each risk factor contributes just a small amount to overall risk. What’s more, we know complex interactions exist between risk factors, but we rarely have enough data to dissect these and extract clinical value. We need substantially larger and more diverse datasets to leverage the tools of data science to translate these insights into clinical actionables. This is where neureka comes in!
Neureka is a novel tool that can be used for screening for brain health disorders across large samples around the world and be a valuable means of identifying at-risk individuals. Through the use of smartphone technology, neureka can aid in the assessment brain health disorders at a scale that is not currently possible using current methods such as brain scans or face-to-screening. This can be done in a manner that is synergistic, inexpensive, and globally scalable.
Through neureka we have harnessed the power of the digital age to create a fleet of citizen scientists who help us develop new tools to detect disorders of the mind. By providing a platform for disseminating research, implementing detection tools, and trialling new interventions, we believe neureka can dramatically accelerate the transition from bench to bedside. We envision a future where people from all walks of life are fully engaged in a radically new digital public health ecosystem. In this ecosystem, users provide data about themselves and play games to not only help science move forward in a dynamic, responsive way, but at the same time provides insights to users that they can action today.
COLLABORATE WITH NEUREKA
One of the goals of the neureka project is to develop large, collaboratively acquired, datasets that are stronger than the sum of their parts. That is why we are making the app freely available to other researchers interested in incorporating our tests into their projects. The app includes gamified versions of cognitive tests such as memory binding and cognitive flexibility that you can use to study cognitive changes in a population over time. Neureka also includes ecological momentary assessment modules that allow you to study how mood fluctuates through time.
For a full list of what’s included in the and app and how you can get involved, please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t already, download neureka for free on the App Store or Google Play store: onelink.to/csrw86
Follow us on twitter: @neurekaApp