Long live online quizzes. How else would we find the answers to such critical questions as, “Which Mean Girls character are you?” or “How many people are in love with you right now?” or “Which Seinfeld quote should you tattoo on your back?” Not that there’s anything wrong with that …
But what if there was an online quiz that could help prevent degenerative brain diseases and help generate treatments for those who suffer from them? That’s the mission behind HealthyBrains.org, created by Dr. Kate Zhong of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Cute and colorful a la Buzzfeed, HealthyBrains.org provides customized wellness tips after users complete a series of questions based on the “six pillars of brain health” (physical exercise, food and nutrition, medical health, sleep and relaxation, mental fitness and social interaction). And users who opt-in might be invited to participate in clinical trials for developing medical treatments.
“We’re hoping to revolutionize the way we recruit participants,” says Zhong, adding that traditional methods—individual doctor referral or educational presentations—are slow and sometimes ineffective. “They are not necessarily the right people to participate in clinical trials. With this website, there is a series of screening questions … [so] we would be able to identify those [clinical-trial volunteers] who potentially are qualified.”
Users can also monitor their quiz results on a personalized dashboard, sync their Fitbit for more tailored suggestions and access the information anytime via the Healthy Brains app. Of course, anyone is welcome to browse the website, whose resources Zhong hopes will at least inspire lifestyle changes (more rest, regular exercise, etc.) that could lower a person’s risk at developing degenerative brain diseases, for which there are no cures.
“We are really driving Las Vegas to become a demonstration site for technology, medical care and scientific discoveries,” Zhong says. Initially, her efforts will be focused on getting locals involved, though she plans to promote Healthy Brains worldwide to reach as many people as possible. “Without our volunteers, without our clinical research patients,” she says, “we cannot find a cure.”