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UCSF study shows VCAT™ technology could have applications for MS patients


UCSF School of Medicine study shows vCAT technology could have applications for MS patients

Cognitive Leap is proud to announce the publication of a new study in the scientific journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that shows how the company’s products could help to advance research on multiple sclerosis. 


At the University of California, San Francisco, a team used Cognitive Leap’s Virtual Classroom Attention Tracker (VCAT™) to determine whether virtual reality tests could help measure the cognitive function of MS. The results of Cognitive Leap’s virtual reality test showed significant differences between individuals with MS and those without. ”People with MS performed worse compared to people without MS on the attentional task that was embedded in the virtual reality system.” Dr. Bove said. “Participants with better performance on standard cognitive measures performed better on the VCAT assessment.” Dr. Hsu noted.


Although cognitive impairment affects up to two-thirds of MS patients, current cognitive assessments for MS bear little resemblance to real-life scenarios, which limits researchers’ ability to gather data relevant to everyday functioning. “Because of the severe impact of cognitive impairment on the personal life of people with MS, there is a need for more sensitive, accessible, flexible and ecologically valid tools to assess their cognition in real-life functional contexts,” Drs. Hsu and Bove stated.


They believe VR applications like VCAT™ show promise as a way to meet that need. According to the study, “virtual reality (VR) programs provide an innovative platform for creating three-dimensional, dynamic environments that simulate the real world, allowing users to interact with objects naturally or to complete relevant tasks.” In addition, the VR tests, which received positive feedback from participants, could be standardized and replicated.


“We see attention and focus as the starting point for our products. We are excited to collaborate with the scientific and medical communities on new applications for this technology,” said Jack Z. Chen, CEO and founder of Cognitive Leap.


Although virtual reality has been used more widely in cognitive assessments for brain injuries and conditions such as ADHD, “studies using VR programs to assess cognition in people with MS are scarce.” Going forward, the team is recommending further exploration into how VR platforms could be optimized and expanded to meet the need for better ways to determine how multiple sclerosis impacts cognitive functioning. “VR is increasingly being recognized as a powerful tool for testing and training cognitive functioning within simulations that mimic the challenges found in daily life. Performance on these types of VR tests may provide new insights into the challenges that persons with MS face and could inform future rehabilitation activities for improving their thinking abilities,” said Skip Rizzo, Ph.D., co-author and Chief Science Officer at Cognitive Leap.


Cognitive Leap is headquartered in Irvine CA and provides digital mental health solutions that are accessible and affordable to address behavioral conditions in children due to attention deficit and/or hyperactivity. The company offers efficient, objective and fun assessment tools using virtual reality, as well as engaging intervention programs that bring children, families, and clinicians together to support lasting functional improvements. Founded in 2015 by Jack Z. Chen, Cognitive Leap has operating subsidiaries in China and Central America.


Media Contact: Shari L Marion - shari@cognitiveleap.com

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