Stelios Zygouris, MS

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI
UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Professional Profile
Home Country: Greece
Field of Employment: Neuropsychology
Key Areas: serious games, cognitive screening, computerized cognitive testing, mild cognitive impairment

New technologies can promote health equity and universal access to brain health if used effectively.

Stelios Zygouris is a neuropsychologist with a wealth of experience in the use of new technologies in dementia. His work is focused on creating novel, enjoyable, and easy to use computerized tests that can detect early cognitive problems. His ultimate goal is to use new technology to increase access to cognitive screening and allow older adults to manage their brain health on their own. More importantly, he is committed to changing the narrative around cognitive screening by transforming it from a medical procedure into an enjoyable activity that can be part of an older adult’s healthy lifestyle.

New technologies have enormous potential to aid brain health, but the human factor is often overlooked when designing computerized tests. Despite advances in test interface and data recording, testing can still be intimidating and tiresome for older adults, and thus they often avoid it. On the other hand, serious games—computer games designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment—are seen as enjoyable and are quite popular amongst older adults. Zygouris is trying to leverage the positive attitude older adults have toward serious games to increase their participation in cognitive screening. In collaboration with GBHI, he will test the first serious game that older adults can use on their own and from the comfort of their home to screen for signs of subtle cognitive decline. This method of remote screening could dramatically reduce costs and healthcare service burden, while simultaneously motivating more people to be examined and increasing access to screening in regions with limited resources.

Zygouris’ work on innovative cognitive screening methods, along with his work in translating and adapting existing computerized tests, aims to create resources that can be utilized in his home region of Greece to increase the quality of healthcare services for older adults. At the same time, he is collaborating with GBHI to promote self-administered cognitive screening through serious games around the world.

Bio: Stelios Zygouris is a neuropsychologist focusing on computerized cognitive testing and specializing in the use of serious games for cognitive screening. He created the first serious game-based cognitive screen and participated in the design and translation into Greek of various computerized cognitive tests. He is a PhD candidate in a joint program at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Network Aging Research at the University of Heidelberg, with a scholarship from the Robert Bosch Foundation Stuttgart. His PhD project focuses on the use of longitudinal performance data on a self-administered serious game to detect mild cognitive impairment.