Cambridge Cognition enters ‘Hot’ Cognition arena

Cambridge Cognition Holdings plc (AIM: COG), which specialises in computerised neuropsychological tests including those enabling the early detection of dementia, announces two new licence agreements which extend the Company’s testing capabilities into new areas of research, enabling assessment of 'Hot' cognition – mental processes that are influenced by emotion and social interaction – to be performed reliably and routinely for the first time.

‘Hot’ cognition is a key feature of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions where emotionally or socially-charged information is difficult for the individual to process resulting in problems in real-world situations. The ability to assess these factors using proprietary Cambridge Cognition technology will lead to objective ways of detecting early risk factors, measuring both relapse and improvement, and the potential to enable timely treatment and intervention for patients.

The licensed software will be developed for inclusion in the Company’s cloud-based CANTAB™ Connect portfolio with launch expected in 2016. These products will enhance the research of neuropsychiatric conditions such as dementia, schizophrenia, autism and depression and will create new revenue streams through product sales in the academic research market and through partnering opportunities with pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.

The first license provides exclusive access to four new innovative tests developed in collaboration between scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, University College London, and King’s College London, in a programme funded by the Medical Research Council.

To complement these new tests, Cambridge Cognition has also acquired an exclusive license for novel intervention technology in the form of a mobile app from researchers at the University of Bristol.

Developed for use on smartphones and tablets, the application has potential to treat behavioural issues including impairments in emotion processing. Taking just a few minutes a day, the app works by training the user to be more sensitive to the subtle facial cues of positive emotions and less sensitive to negative emotions. A recent study found that after just four sessions with the newly acquired app attendees on a high risk youth programme showed a decrease in aggressive behaviour1.

Marcus Munafò, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol, believes such healthcare technology applications can have a significant impact: “There is huge potential for improving people’s psychological wellbeing through scientifically-proven apps such as this. We look forward to working with Cambridge Cognition to further develop this and other apps aimed at improving mental health worldwide.”

Chief Operating Officer at Cambridge Cognition, Dr Steven Powell commented: "We are delighted that, three decades after the inception of CANTAB technologies, we continue to strengthen our cognitive assessment products with new and innovative tests from our academic and clinical partners. Significantly these licenses are core to the development of our healthcare technology division and will enable Cambridge Cognition to develop digital applications to not only assess but to also intervene in psychiatric conditions, such as depression, which affect millions of people around the world." 

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