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­lster ­niversity Scientists Develop App With ­.s. Colleagues that Could Prevent Onset of Alzheimer's

By Belfast Live

July 27, 2015

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A new app unveiled last week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C., could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Developed by scientists at Ulster University in collaboration with Utah State University, the Gray Matters smartphone app is designed to educate and empower people to make positive lifestyle adjustments. Users can set lifestyle goals such as exercise, nutrition, stress management, and brain management, which are known to impact the onset and progression of the disease. The app enables users to track their lifestyle in areas ranging from diet and physical activity to mental well-being and social engagement. Moreover, the app provides daily facts linking healthy lifestyle behaviors and improved cognitive well-being, and also provides visual progress reports.

Research findings show the app leads to "increases in intrinsic motivation for, and actual achieved changes in, health-related behaviors, with accompanying reductions in subjective memory complaints," says Utah State professor Maria Norton. "Secondary outcomes of interest are physical and cognitive health indicators including body mass index, blood pressure, blood-based biomarkers, and cognitive test scores."

The researchers plan to make Gray Matters available to the general public in the future.

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