FDA clears Cantab Mobile, a tablet-based memory assessment tool

By Jonah Comstock

UK-based cognitive assessment company Cambridge Cognition has received FDA clearance for Cantab Mobile, the company's iPad-based assessment tool for memory issues in older adults. The app, which already had a CE Mark, received FDA clearance January 13th.

Cantab Mobile is a 10-minute test -- based on the Pairs Associates Learning or PAL test -- administered via a tablet that puts the user through three different exercises to test their memory. It's meant to serve as an early warning system for conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's. It also builds in a test for depression, allowing the test to distinguish between mood disorders and memory impairment.

"A great deal can be done to maximize the quality of life for patients with dementia if the condition is detected early," the company writes on its website. "When detected in a timely fashion, people with dementia can receive the treatment, care, and support needed to let them live well with the condition and stay independent longer."

A number of digital health companies raised money for or launched app-based cognitive assessment tools just in the last year. Palo Alto-based NeuroTrack, which has developed a five minute, web-based test, called Imprint Cognitive Assessment Test that evaluates whether a patient is at risk for Alzheimer’s, raised $6.5 million in January 2016 in a round led by Khosla Ventures. In May Durham, North Carolina-based NeuroCog Trials received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health, to develop its iPad version of the Brief Assessment of Cognition. 

San Francisco-based Savonix announced the global launch of its cognitive assessment app, Savonix Mobile, in October and in August diagnostic information company Quest Diagnostics launched an iPad-based cognitive assessment tool called CogniSense to aid doctors in diagnosis, assessment and care management of people with cognitive dysfunction.