A research team led by Dr. Junhyoung “Paul” Kim, an associate professor of health behavior at Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health, has been awarded a two-year grant from a Korean foundation to design mobile technology that can help prevent dementia among older Chinese and Korean Americans in the US. The project is in line with the National Institute on Aging’s priority to increase participation by Asian Americans in dementia care.
The team will obtain preliminary data to support a larger, randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a new mobile app developed by Silvia Health, a South Korean company that specializes in dementia prevention technology for older adults with limited English proficiency. The app will be designed specifically for Chinese and Korean American seniors and will focus on cognitive function and quality of life.
Previous research by the team has shown that the currently available Silvia Health app improved memory, psychological health, and quality of life among older Koreans who used it. The new research aims to gather data related to a proposed new app for Chinese and Korean American seniors that will incorporate home-based exercise, mindfulness and relaxation, cognitive activities, and voice-based AI-led cognitive assessments. The app will be available in multiple languages and its content will be culturally appropriate for the target audience.
“Many Asian American adults were born outside the US and have limited English proficiency,” said Dr. Kim. “This prevents them from participating in dementia prevention programs even though they are one of the fastest-growing racial and ethnic minorities in the country.” Additionally, evidence suggests that this underserved immigrant population may have similar or higher rates of cognitive impairment as nonimmigrant older adults.
Dr. Kim’s goal is to reduce cultural barriers that prevent the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive decline and dementia among Chinese