Using an eHealth Intervention to Stimulate Health Behavior for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline in Dutch Adults: A Study Protocol for the Brain Aging Monitor

JMIR Res Protoc. 2015 Nov 10;4(4):e130. doi: 10.2196/resprot.4468.


Background: Internet-delivered intervention programs are an effective way of changing health behavior in an aging population. The same population has an increasing number of people with cognitive decline or cognitive impairments. Modifiable lifestyle risk factors such as physical activity, nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep, and stress all influence the probability of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Objective: This study aims to answer two questions: (1) Is the use of a self-motivated, complex eHealth intervention effective in changing multiple health behaviors related to cognitive aging in Dutch adults in the work force, especially those aged 40 and over? and (2) Does this health behavior change result in healthier cognitive aging patterns and contribute to preventing or delaying future onset of neurodegenerative syndromes?

Methods: The Brain Aging Monitor study uses a quasi-experimental 2-year pre-posttest design. The Brain Aging Monitor is an online, self-motivated lifestyle intervention program. Recruitment is done both in medium to large organizations and in the Dutch general population over the age of 40. The main outcome measure is the relationship between lifestyle change and cognitive aging. The program uses different strategies and modalities such as Web content, email, online newsletters, and online games to aid its users in behavior change. To build self-regulatory skills, the Brain Aging Monitor offers its users goal-setting activities, skill-building activities, and self-monitoring.

Results: Study results are expected to be published in early 2016.

Conclusions: This study will add to the body of evidence on the effectiveness of eHealth intervention programs with the combined use of state-of-the-art applied games and established behavior change techniques. This will lead to new insights on how to use behavior change techniques and theory in multidimensional lifestyle eHealth research, and how these techniques and theories apply when they are used in a setting where no professional back-end is available.

Trial registration: Nederlands Trial Register: NTR4144; (Archived by WebCite at

Keywords: applied games; cognition; eHealth; healthy lifestyle; internet; prevention; protocol.