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Wearable technology to detect early dementia

Wednesday February 12th, 2020

A global project is to test the benefits of wearable technology to help early detection of neurodegenerative disease, it was announced yesterday.

The charity Alzheimer's Research UK launched the ‘Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases’ initiative recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Funding of at least £67 million will be needed over the next six years, and the collaborators hope to reach a £100 million investment by 2030. The funding will allow a specialised diagnostic device to be built and thoroughly tested.

It will “harness and analyse a wealth of digital data” to create signatures, or fingerprints, of neurodegenerative diseases that are detectable by the devices before symptoms begin.

Carol Routledge of Alzheimer's Research UK said: "Our research shows that 85% of UK adults would be willing to take a test that could tell them if they were in the early stages of a disease like Alzheimer's, even before symptoms show.

“Our initiative aims to harness the growing popularity of digital health technology and big data to revolutionise how we develop early tests for these diseases. Developing digital fingerprints that can be detected using phone apps or wearable technologies like smart watches would provide a low-cost approach to identifying those most at risk of disease."

Professor Chris Holmes of the University of Oxford, UK, added: "Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the learning opportunities from large scale data studies such as this by integrating information from multiple sources.

"We will use AI to deliver new insights into the early signals of disease by combining digital data measurements with traditional sources such as brain imaging and memory tests.”

Tags: Brain & Neurology | UK News | World Health

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