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Cantab Corporate Health Distributors

December 31st, 2015

Cantab Corporate Health is looking to engage with global distributors of our cognitive assessment software from Cambridge Cognition.

Our products are CE approved Class II Medical Devices. They are culturally neutral, language independent and applicable across all ages and in all occupations from the shop floor to the boardroom.

Whilst a very basic grasp of English is all that is needed to take the assessments, voiceover instructions for Cantab Mobile are also available in the following languages:

Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Mandarin, Dutch, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Gujarati,Hindi, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish (European), Spanish (Latin), Turkish, Urdu, Welsh.

The ideal distributor would have a good understanding of the occupational and private health market in that country backed up with key relationships with employers and their health providers.

Please contact me at John.Picken@cantabcorp.com if you would like to know more.

Many thanks and best wishes for 2016.

Cantab Corporate Health

September 21st, 2015

I am delighted to announce that Shandwell has entered into a new joint venture with the truly fantastic team at Cambridge Cognition.

Together we have created Cantab Corporate Health, providing the latest digital tools to help measure and manage the cognitive health of the working age population.

There is a growing understanding that cognitive health determines what work we can do and for how long. Closely linked to physical health, it also has a significant impact on performance and productivity.

There is also a growing realisation that impaired cognitive health poses a risk to individuals and the organisations they work for. This is set against a background of an ageing workforce, 32% of which will be aged over 50 by 2020 (ONS).

The new business works with both employers and their providers to ensure a joined-up approach to delivering on cognitive health objectives across a wide range of corporate health settings including:

• Health Assessments
• Health and Wellbeing Programmes
• Occupational Health
• Primary Care
• Health-Related Insurances
• Rehabilitation

We have already secured major clients in the UK and there is huge interest around the world. You can read the launch press release by clicking here.

Everyone should have the opportunity of measuring and managing their cognitive health. It is the most important factor in determining the length, quality and productivity of our working lives.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Employee Dementia Hits One in Ten Firms

August 2nd, 2015

This article highlights how this is just the tip of the iceberg. We really don’t know the true number of employees affected as most diagnoses are only made when symptoms are very obvious.

Yet through the Cantab cognitive tests developed by Cambridge Cognition and now offered in the workplace, we can help identify problems many years earlier giving everyone the chance to take control of the situation before it takes control of them.

In a recent survey by GE Healthcare, three out of four people said they would want to know if they were at risk of neurological disease.  I would be one of them and will be taking a Cantab cognitive test on a regular basis.

I totally accept that some if not all of my cognitive abilities will start to decline as I get older. But I want to have an early warning system in place that tells me if that decline is beyond what I should expect for my age, gender and educational level – how I compare to normative data.

Our cognitive health impacts every aspect of our life including what work we do and for how long.  Measuring and managing it is one of the best things we can do to look after ourselves and our futures.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more.



Assessing Cognitive Health now firmly on the Employer Agenda

May 27th, 2015

This blog post on the Cambridge Cognition website links to two highly relevant and timely articles.


One from me explaining why we need to focus much more on mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and how current thinking has to change.

The second one from the CIPD  website looking at some of the legal aspects around dementia at work and the benefits of early detection.

Please get in touch if you want to know more.


Creating a dementia friendly workplace

April 21st, 2015

This morning I was at the launch event for the ‘practical guide for employers’ produced by The Alzheimer’s Society. You can download a copy here.

It was a truly inspirational event and re-affirmed my strongly held belief that everyone should be given the opportunity to understand their risk of dementia and have that assessed.  That’s one of the main reasons why I’m working with Cambridge Cognition – to give people that very opportunity using readily accessible and scientifically validated assessments.

I was totally bowled over by Hilary Doxford when she told her story of not getting a proper diagnosis for seven years, yes seven years! Doctors kept putting  her problems down to depression without testing her symptoms properly.

When she finally got her diagnosis, she was relieved,  able to plan the rest of her working life and beyond.  At 53, she is still working three years on and continues to make a valuable contribution to her organisation. Her case study is on page 23.

How many Hilarys are there in the working age population?  We really have no idea but bearing in mind only 48% of people with dementia in the UK are diagnosed, it’s no small number.

That’s why we need the effective assessment tools from Cambridge Cognition and why employers are in such a strong position to help introduce them.

Identifying any memory problems early is one of the most important things we can all do to manage our future quality of life and that of those close to us.



Health and Wellbeing @ Work 2015

February 18th, 2015

Cambridge Cognition will be exhibiting at this event at the NEC on 3rd and 4th March.  For more details, please click here.

I’m looking forward to being on stand 2 for both days.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

January 12th, 2015

Mild Cognitive Impairment or (MCI) – do you know what it is or understand its significance?

I have to be honest and say that until last year, I knew nothing about it.  Like many I was aware of the growing media noise around dementia,  the social and economic costs involved.  Like many, I assumed that dementia was something that affected old people in much later life and put a fair bit of distance between me and the possibility of getting it.  What I know now has blown those assumptions out of the water.

Everyone and I mean everyone, no matter what age, needs to understand the real impact of MCI and why identifying it early is probably the most important thing you can do to control the quality of the rest of your life.

MCI is not a specific disease rather it describes a set of symptoms. Someone with MCI has subtle problems with one or more of the following:

  • day-to-day memory
  • planning
  • language
  • attention
  • visuospatial skills (‘visuo’ referring to eyesight and ‘spatial’ referring to space or location), which give a person the ability to interpret objects and shapes.

Some people will have MCI as a result of a curable condition such as stress, anxiety or depression, or from physical illness or side-effects of medication.

However, 70% of people with MCI ‘convert” to Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The rates of ‘conversion’ range from 1-2% per year for the general population to 7-15% for those aged 65 or older.


We know that neuro- degenerative diseases progress slowly over years, prior to any obvious sign or symptom. This means that for many, they start taking hold when we are in mid-life, but we just don’t know about it.

Like any disease, we can review what our risks are for developing MCI and try to modify our behaviour to hopefully reduce those risks, but unless we test for the condition we are totally in the dark.

If we could test people for MCI then we would be able to identify it earlier, providing peace of mind to those who may have MCI which is not dementia related and give those where it is, the very best opportunity to take control and manage the situation.

The sooner we know, the better:

  • Early diagnosis will allow treatable conditions to be ruled out that may have symptoms similar to dementia. The sooner we are assessed, the sooner we can receive the right help – getting a diagnosis can be a lengthy process.
  • It provides the opportunity of accessing new treatment approaches that may alter the underlying disease process and have the potential to slow or halt its progression.
  • By taking an assessment, we will have a benchmark to compare future results as we monitor the condition.
  • If diagnosed, we still have the cognitive ability to plan our lives and our future more effectively.
  • We can work through those plans with our employer, family and those close to us. They are going to be significantly affected by what is happening but once they know, can reach make informed decisions of their own.
  • We will be able to access advice, information and support (emotional, practical and financial) from social services, voluntary agencies and support groups.

I really believe that the quality of life is all about our ability to function which is totally governed by the state of our cognitive health.  I can’t think of a better, simpler, more cost effective way of monitoring this than the cognitive assessments from Cambridge Cognition.


Cambridge Cognition

December 18th, 2014

I’m delighted to let you know that I am now working with the fantastic team at Cambridge Cognition in bringing their touchscreen assessment software for detecting Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to the Corporate Market.

As with any health risk, the earlier something is detected the better the chances of a positive outcome. This is particularly important for MCI because those people affected have a highly increased risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.

Cantab Mobile is more sensitive to mild cognitive impairment than any other cognitive assessment – click here to find out why.

It also differentiates between memory problems and mood disorders which is an area of significant mis-diagnosis.

The demographics of the workforce are changing. By 2020, people aged 50+ will represent 48% of the adult population and 32% of working age population (ONS).  For whatever reason whether it be the abolition of the default retirement age, personal economic necessity or filling shortfalls in workforce numbers, we are all working longer.

Employers are now beginning to realise that cognitive impairment is one of the biggest health risks that needs to be addressed. With over 30 years of optimising mental health through research, treatment and diagnosis, Cambridge Cognition have what it takes to help.

More to follow soon.




Diagnosing Dementia – The people who are so wrong

October 23rd, 2014

The government’s plan to pay GPs £55 for every dementia diagnosis they make has really provoked a big reaction.

The BBC website even closed down the chance to comment by mid-afternoon on the day the story went live after 1,160 comments. Read the rest of this entry »

Hope and Help for Dementia

August 2nd, 2014

Currently there is no cure for dementia but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope for any of us if diagnosed with the disease.

Until my involvement with Re:Cognition Health I had no idea of the benefit of clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

If I recommended to you that you or someone close to you with a diagnosis should enrol on a clinical trial, I’m sure some of you would automatically think of men in white coats walking around a soulless laboratory.

What I’ve discovered is that the reality could not be any more different than this popular misconception.

By getting on a trial, people get a fantastic level of FREE health care support and a sense of community not available anywhere else either privately or on the NHS. Private Medical Insurance does not provide any cover either.

But it’s not just the care that makes it so worthwhile. It’s the opportunity to access new treatments years before they are available through your GP.  When you bear in mind that treatments currently only tend to be effective in the early stages of a dementia, then for many, any delay will have a seriously negative impact on potential outcomes.

On speaking to people already enrolled in trials, many have stressed that whilst they are obviously keen to help themselves, they also see what they are doing as a contribution to make a real difference to someone else’s future by helping to find a cure.

Re:Cognition Health is an International clinical trials site participating in a growing number of trials that could really benefit anyone with a diagnosis.

If you want to find out more contact me directly or email clinician@re-cognitionhealth.com

Awareness of these trials is so poor.  If I’d known about them a couple of years ago then I would have encouraged someone close to me to enrol when they still had the chance.