Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Teun Aalbers (Donders series 224)

9 June 2016

Promotors: prof. dr. M. Olde Rikkert,  prof. dr. R. Kessels

eHealth in the primary prevention of cognitive decline; The Brain Aging Monitor study

Based on this thesis, it can be concluded that using eHealth interventions on modifiable lifestyle risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, appears to be a viable option.

I describe the validation of a new online, fast-to-play self-monitor instrument aimed at four cognitive functions crucial for optimal wellbeing and independent living. In my next studies I describe the 1-year outcome on modifiable lifestyle risk factors in participants who actively used the Brain Aging Monitor. After one year participants showed an overall lifestyle improvement in follow-up measurements that was mainly caused by improvements in exercise, dietary, and sleep outcomes. Added to the positive lifestyle outcomes, I describe the cognitive outcomes from the BAM-COG. This showed a positive change in working memory performance, which was correlated with the overall improvement in lifestyle score and slightly decreased body weight.

Overall, the study described in this thesis provided interesting and relevant data on the feasibility of this type of eHealth field trials that allows dissemination and evaluation of innovations to large populations at lower costs and in a shorter time than more strictly controlled designs. The BAM and BAM-COG results are sufficiently promising to conclude that it is worthwhile to further develop public health interventions to stimulate healthy brain aging by means of eHealth and mHealth innovations.