A significant update has been released to the popular free BrainyApp dementia risk-reduction app.

BrainyApp, an innovation from Alzheimer’s Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation, helps people improve their brain health.

It has been upgraded to reflect the latest scientific research that links brain health and a reduced risk of dementia to a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. The new app engages more with users while still including games and trivia for an element of fun.

There have been more than 370,000 downloads of the app globally since its launch in 2011, testimony to its popularity and usefulness. The new makeover features:

  • A community board so users can share photos and status updates with friends as they work towards their main health goals

  • A fresh, new design

  • ‘Badges’ to help users track their progress

  • A web version of the app which can be synchronised with smartphones and tablets.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said there are more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia and, as the condition is Australia’s second leading cause of death, it is more important than ever to promote risk-reduction messages to a younger audience.

“We know there is a link between lifestyle choices and a healthy brain,” Ms Bennett said. “What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain, so by keeping active, eating a healthy well balanced diet, maintaining your social connections and challenging your brain, we can start to take control of our brain health today.”

Alzheimer’s Australia National Ambassador Ita Buttrose AO OBE said BrainyApp is a great way to deliver the dementia risk-reduction message to a range of age groups.

“It’s easy and fun and it’s great that there is something available to help people reduce their risk of developing dementia,” Ms Buttrose said. “Brain health is very important to me and BrainyApp is a simple way to make sure I’m doing all I can to keep my brain healthy.”

Director of The Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National University’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Professor Kaarin Anstey, said there are things people in their 20s, 30s and 40s can do to reduce their risk of getting dementia.

“Dementia can begin in the brain approximately 20 years before the first symptoms become evident, so you are never too young to improve your heart-brain health,” Professor Anstey said.

BrainyApp is available as a free download for both Apple and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play.

For more information about five simple steps you can follow to maximise your brain health visit the Your Brain Matters website: http://yourbrainmatters.org.au/