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15 July 2020

New virtual study to measure stress recovery in frontline health workers caring for COVID-19 patients

Cambridge Cognition is pleased to announce a collaboration with 4YouandMe and The Center for International Emergency Medical Services to investigate the utility of wearables and mobile phones for measuring stress recovery in frontline health workers caring for COVID-19 positive patients.

Cambridge Cognition is collaborating with 4YouandMe and The Center for International Emergency Medical Services (“CIEMS”) to investigate the utility of wearables and mobile phones to measure stress recovery in frontline healthcare workers in the USA caring for COVID-19 positive patients. This virtual study will take place over 6-12 months with up to 500 participants. The project is charity funded and Cambridge Cognition are supporting the project by providing the digital cognitive assessments.

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Many healthcare workers worldwide are experiencing high levels of stress as they work on the frontline caring for COVID-19 positive patients. Stress negatively affects the immune system1, which in turn can increase susceptibility to infection. Accurate measurement of stress responses in real-time will be key to better understanding whether stress is a significant risk factor for frontline healthcare workers contracting COVID-19.  

Carrying a mobile phone or wearable is now a habit for most, so the devices are ideally suited to capture subtle fluctuations in wellbeing. The primary goal of the project is to determine whether mobile phones and wearables are a feasible means of detecting and tracking real-time changes in stress and recovery as frontline healthcare workers transition between “on-shift” and “off-shift” with COVID-19 patients. The secondary goal is to determine whether these digital signals can inform risk-detection for COVID-19 infectivity.

Cambridge Cognition is the cognitive assessment partner for this exploratory research project: supporting the identification of clinically meaningful signs of stress, such as mood shifts and changes in cognitive performance.

"Tracking stress and recovery for frontline healthcare workers is important research and we are pleased to provide our cognitive assessment expertise for this project. Wearables and mobile phones are unparalleled for tracking real-time responses and Cambridge Cognition has extensive experience in virtual trials such as this. We hope that the environment for healthcare workers may be improved in the future as a result of the objective information gathered in the study." 

Matthew Stork, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Cognition

"Our study, that has been enrolling well in the US, is designed to explore how the stressful conditions among frontline healthcare workers might be collected objectively in terms of the immediate and intermediate effects of stress. For several years, we have probed the stress effects on mood, sleep, and cognition. We are thrilled that the well-designed world-class measures we would hope to engage have been provided by Cambridge Cognition. The power and ease of the Cambridge Cognition tools will go a long way to helping us better understand the links between stress and momentary shifts in cognition and in turn hopefully this will allow us to better protect all essential frontline health workers in the near future." 

Stephen Friend, President and Co-Founder of 4YouandMe

Reference: 1. Pruett SB. Stress and the immune system. Pathophysiology. 2003 May 1;9(3):133-53.