New app built by TiU researcher improves life after a brain tumor

New app built by TiU researcher improves life after a brain tumor

An app built by neuropsychologist and Tilburg University researcher Karin Gehring helps patients cope with memory loss and other cognitive challenges as they recover from brain cancer surgery.

After a successful research pilot, the ReMIND app is now being offered as treatment to 8 brain tumor patients who recently underwent surgery at the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg.

The app should help patients pick up their lives again post-surgery. That can be extremely difficult, Karin Gehring explained in this interview, since brain cancer surgery can mean saving a life but losing certain cognitive abilities.

Memory loss, fatigue and concentration problems are common in patients recovering from a brain tumor. As a result, patients may face difficulties coping with the stresses and pressures of everyday life.

The ReMIND app

With no or very little treatment available for cognitive impairments after brain tumor surgery, Gehring decided to build an app that helps patients cope with everyday challenges.

The ReMIND app, which can be downloaded on an iPad, is based on scientific findings about cognitive rehabilitation after brain surgery. It contains exercises to improve cognitive skills and it teaches compensatory strategies that can be applied in everyday life—patients learn to deal with distraction and time pressure, for example, or how to cook a meal without the ability to focus on multiple tasks at once.

The exercises and strategies come in the form of videos, audio clips, instructional texts and games. An English version of the app is currently being piloted in the United States in collaboration with the University of California San Francisco. In time, the app should become available to all patients who are navigating life after a brain tumor.

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