Ignite: testing cognition in FTD
Ignite is a cognitive assessment tool designed for early detection of genetic frontotemporal dementia. As the most common form of dementia in people under 60 years of age, detecting subtle changes is vital to tracking and treating this disease.
Ignite is now available from the App Store. Please download it and be part of the first wave of people testing it. This will help us to validate the test across a wide range of ages, from 20 through to 80.
It is currently available in English but will be available in most European languages by Autumn 2021.
How does Ignite work?
Cognitive assessment for the 21st century
An alternative to standard pen and paper cognitive assessments, Ignite is designed to test problem solving abilities, social skills and much more through its quick game-like tasks.
It is unlike most standard psychology tasks as it puts the user in charge. Tasks can be performed at home without the assistance of a psychologist.
Ignite has been specially designed to be sensitive to early changes in cognitive performance for those at-risk of developing frontotemporal dementia. It is an essential tool for gathering quick real time data for this population.
Ignite also forms part of the wider Early Detection of FTD (EDoF) study which is investigating the use of digital biomarkers in FTD. As well as Ignite, the EDoF study also includes analysis of speech patterns, metadata from smartphone use, sleep and gait.
Ignite has been developed by the FTD talk team at UCL under Dr Jonathan Rohrer.
One of the greatest challenges in genetic FTD has been that current cognitive tests are only sensitive to detect change around 5 years before symptom onset. However, research from the GENFI study has shown that changes in the brain can be seen up to 25 years before symptom onset.
We therefore set out to use innovative techniques to make cognitive testing more sensitive to changes in the brains of people with genetic FTD - this is where Ignite comes in!
The work to develop Ignite was initially funded by a PhD studentship from the Alzheimer's Society to Katrina Moore. Her PhD research focused on the use of cognitive assessments in genetic frontotemporal dementia to improve clinical trial design. She developed the initial version of Ignite and piloted it in a group of healthy controls and people at-risk of genetic FTD. She completed her PhD in 2019.
The ongoing development of Ignite is now part of Rhian Convery's PhD which focuses on digital biomarkers of FTD. She has also worked as part of the GENFI core team at UCL before starting her PhD in 2019, funded by an FTD Research Studentship in memory of David Blechner through The National Brain Appeal.