Henry Schein to market video game-like dementia screening tool

Cerebral Assessment Systems (CAS) tapped Henry Schein to market its screening device that uses cognitive assessment to detect early signs of dementia.

The device, dubbed Cognivue, snagged a de novo clearance from the FDA in 2015. It displays visual stimuli on a computer screen and monitors and measures how the brain processes information, according to a statement. The test is personalized to each patient; the level of difficulty depends on how well a patient’s brain is performing.

Cognivue presents test results in a report that is stored in the cloud. It provides physicians with a single quantitative score for brain health so they can investigate potential issues before they escalate.

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“With Henry Schein Medical, our goal is to distribute the device to all the practitioners looking for a solution that makes the assessment of cognitive function as routine as having your blood pressure taken,” said Charles Duffy, M.D., who created the Cognivue device, in the statement. “Although an early diagnosis does not solve the cure, minimizing the toll dementia takes on patients—by addressing some of the potential causes associated with this condition—is the next best option."

Boston’s Akili Interactive Labs is developing a similar platform for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The startup joined forces with Pfizer in 2014 to investigate whether its video game-based platform really could differentiate between patients with Alzheimer’s and without. Last December, the duo presented data showing that its proprietary video game platform could tell the difference between patients who had brain amyloidosis—measured by PET scan—and patients without amyloidosis.

In a different tack, Alzeca Biosciences, which recently raised $11 million in series A financing, is working on a nanoparticle contrast agent for MRI. The agent is designed for the early detection of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. While PET imaging is used to detect amyloid deposits in the brain, this imaging method is expensive and not widely available. Houston-based Alzeca hopes to bring amyloid-screening capability to MRI scanners, which are much more common.