News | 16 March 2018

You can control the prevention of dementia

The MijnBreincoach (My brain coach) app will be officially launched on Saturday, March 17. A digital tool developed by the Limburg Alzheimer Centre, which focuses on helping people keep their brain healthy and vital, thus reducing the risk of dementia at a later age. "We shouldn't wait around for the day that we might find the cure for Alzheimer's," says Dr. Sebastian Köhler, one of the initiators of the app, on behalf of the Maastricht UMC+, located on Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. "We can actually partially control the prevention of dementia ourselves." The launch of the app is being coupled with the kick-off for the campaign "We are the medicine."

MijnbreincoachDementia is a growing social problem. The number of people with this condition in the Netherlands is expected to double in the coming 25 years, ultimately reaching a total of half a million people. The most distinctive characteristic of the condition is memory problems, which is not only a heavy burden for people suffering from dementia, but also for those around them. Major breakthroughs in medical research have yet to materialize, leading to the question of whether or not the ultimate cure for dementia will ever be found. However, we have more control over things than we think.

Prevention
One of the things shown by scientific research is that different lifestyle factors have a strong influence on the risk of contracting dementia. Smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, not enough exercise, etc. all contribute to this. The MijnBreincoach app helps people gain insight into their own brain health. Users can also get tips and advice to help them make positive lifestyle changes, and in small, achievable steps. "An amazing 30% of all cases of dementia can be prevented simply by choosing a healthy lifestyle", according to Köhler.

"We are the medicine"
The kick-off of the awareness campaign, We zijn zelf het medicijn (We are the medicine), will be held at the Museumplein in Kerkrade on Saturday, March 17. The goal is to show people that even just a few minor changes in their daily lives can reduce the chance of developing dementia at a later age. In addition to the launch of the MijnBreincoach app, affiliated companies and institutions will also organize various local activities during the campaign. In cooperation with the Limburg offices of the GGD (Area Health Authority) and the Province of Limburg, the Limburg Alzheimer Centre initiative will run until the end of January 2019.

For further information on the MijnBreincoach app and the "We are the medicine" campaign, please visit www.mijnbreincoach.eu and www.wezijnzelfhetmedicijn.nl

The app is available via the App Store and Google Play.