New software helps improve brain function in those with disorders
Software technology adopted by an NUI Galway campus company may help people with head injury, disease or other central nervous system disorders to “regenerate the brain”.
The validated software sbt Pro is the first of its type in both Ireland and the UK , according to Brain Care Ireland, which is based in NUIGalway’s research and innovation centre (braincare.ie).
People with Alzheimer’s disease, or suffering from depression, stroke, schizophrenia, bi-polar and other conditions may benefit from its use, while the company has developed a programme for “senior memory maintenance”.
Global research has shown that engaging the brain in regular training exercises can result in positive changes. Neuroplasticity, as in the brain’s ability to re-organise and create new nerve connections, allows it to compensate for injury, disease or mental disorders.
As the Galway researchers point out, the brain creates new nerve pathways, which in turn stimulate dendrite growth - similar to a telephone wire - along which message are received from other cells.
The dendrite growth, which occurs throughout life, facilitates learning new subjects or activities, and relearning old ones.
“The more dendrites the brain has at its disposal, the quicker and smoother it can process information and increase brain function and capabilities,”the researchers say.
Their “brainwave” technology stimulates dendritic growth on a continuing basis, allowing the brain to work to its maximum potential and providing long term benefits.
It is believed that the onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be delayed by give years or longer through using the software at an early stage.
The software can also be delivered by telemedicine, which allows professional therapists to work with many patients on the programme and monitor their progress from their clinic.
The company has devised a three-minute test for memory decline and impairment, which is being piloted in five pharmacies in Galway to screen peple for cognitive decline at an early, as in pre-clinical, stage.
The pilot memory test, known as Memtrax, is available from Renmore Pharmacy, Moycullen Pharmacy, Merlin Pharmacy, Mullins Late Night Pharmacy in Salthill, and Moughans Pharmacy on Cooke’s Corner, 66 Newcastle road, Galway.