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Neurosessments: Developing a quick, objective motor test to prompt cognitivetesting in primary care

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43AG082604-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R43AG082604
Amount: $345,604.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS22-196
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-09-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-09-29
Small Business Information
2154 E. LA JOLLA DR.
Tempe, AZ 85282
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 (310) 893-9893
Business Contact
Phone: (814) 404-5837
Research Institution

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia in the United States, affecting one out of every nine
older adults. However, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) can be difficult to diagnose, with
physicians missing nearly half of all probable dementia cases. Rates of missed diagnosis are even higher among
Black older adults. The majority of physicians do not regularly screen their patients with cognitive tests, due
mostly to a lack of time during their face-to-face time with patients. Thus, there is a clear need for a quick,
objective test that can be administered by medical staff prior to the physician’s time with the patient, which will
prompt cognitive testing or a specialist referral for follow-up when there is concern for AD/ADRD. Since research
has shown that motor regions in the brain are affected early in the progression of AD, the long-term goal of
Neurosessments LLC is to develop a motor test that will help improve dementia detection in primary care that is
appropriate for older adults from diverse backgrounds. Prior research by the Neurosessments LLC team has
developed an experimental version of a motor test that can identify dementia, predict functional decline, and
detect brain amyloid, regardless of the patient’s educational attainment, sex, or age. The overall objective of this
Phase I SBIR is to adapt the original version of this motor test into a quick (lt2 minutes) and easy to administer
version called qBEANS (quick Behavioral Exam to Advance Neuropsychological Screening) for medical staff to
use. The specific aims are to 1) determine the reliability and racial equity of a short version of the motor test and
2) develop a digital user interface for administering and scoring the motor test that is usable in a clinical setting.
Achieving these aims will lead to a Phase II SBIR that deploys qBEANS within primary care offices and
community health clinics to increase rates of cognitive testing and improve dementia detection. This proposal is
innovative in its use of motor behavior to detect probable dementia in its early stages, and its development of
tools for intended use in primary care. The commercialization plan is to sell single-use test kits to medical
providers for use in primary care settings to annually screen adults ages 65 and older. Through routine screening,
primary care providers will be able to identify individuals whose scores indicate possible dementia, informing
providers of whether or not to perform additional cognitive testing or refer to specialists for possible diagnosis of
AD/ADRD. The societal impact is that it will improve the rates of early dementia diagnosis, giving older adults
and their families the gift of time to make decisions about treatment options, legal plans, personal care plans,
and finances.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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