With the advancement of technology, new horizons are being reached in medical research. Virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other technologies have also created new modalities in the management of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Unbeatable Technology Helping to Fight Alzheimer’s
Naheed Ali, MD, PhD
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) inflicts the patient’s neurological system significantly. Sufferers of this disease face a decline in neurological and cognitive processes. This makes them vulnerable to a lot of social, psychological, and occupational stigma that’s not always from disease, but due to other troubles. Due to fear of such stigmata, people are reluctant to seek early diagnosis and treatment that might aid in battling the disorder altogether. Simply put, their lives get crippled.
Artificial Intelligence in the Management of Alzheimer’s Disease
The most important use of technology is in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. In Europe in the late 20th century, cognitive assessment sequences were invented for diagnosing and assessing dementia. Recently, modern web and application-based cognitive evaluations have surfaced, and by gauging the behavior of people and the way in which they connect with technology, early diagnosis of impaired cognition is made.
PET imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a combination of MRI and PET were used to diagnose neurodegeneration associated with dementia. How accurate and reliable such methods are in diagnosing the disease and prognosing/predicting disease progression in time are key questions to ask doctors prior to doing often inconvenient and invasive tests for Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is known to progress in stages. Now, with modern technology, linguistic and gait pattern analysis have led to cognitive assessment at earlier stages. Before the effectiveness of any solution or intervention can be objectively assessed, both patient and doctor need a simple and reliable tool to measure brain health accurately and monitor its changes in response to interventions. AI-based software is being built that can reinforce patients in all these strata by providing them with solutions to their problems and also to help with routine activities, and helping to monitor disease progression.
AI-based technology has advanced the development of “smart homes.” Sensors are installed for patients with Alzheimer’s in case of any health-related incident. The early prototype of this technology provided monitoring for baths and cookers and has an automatic night light and digital panel as added features that displays important reminders regarding routine activities to patients with dementia.
Smart home technologies have now advanced even more and include a lot of other characteristics. They have been made more user-friendly and can even be installed by the person himself in homes and workplaces. Cloud-based computing is another mode of progression that is being used in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care. Interpretation of MRI and neuroimaging information, location tracking, and activity monitoring are examples of such cloud-based computing systems.
It is found that “musical memory” is somewhat preserved in Alzheimer’s. Using technological advancements, various projects have introduced button radios, simple interfaces for making music, and many others. Interactive art and music systems have also been developed, which have proved to be favorable as they make the pastime enjoyable for people with dementia. Art and music have also been incorporated into therapeutic methodology using technology.
Outdoor activities are being supported and made easier by advanced navigation, route finding, and walking assistance applications and technologies. These technologies are easily accessible as they only need a smartphone, GPS, and the internet. VR-based software is made for people who can’t go outside.
Software and App-based Technology in Caregiving and Supportive Management
CIRCA (Computer Interactive Reminiscence and Conversation Aid) is an application that lets people interact socially and improves the cognitive ability and quality of life of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought that games improve mental faculties. Also scrutinized is the role that games can play in repairing cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Results from recent trials have shown that computer-based training is helpful in shrinking the risk of dementia in patients.
VR and augmented reality will play a very principal role in this regard in the future. Another goal is caregiving, for which technology is being explored. Using robots as caregivers instead of humans is a question of interest and is being explored in detail with a lot of ongoing research as we speak. Coupling physically-present robots with distant surveillance sensors has made this job easy. Other robotic applications help people with dementia prepare food and participate in recreational activities.
Brainsee is a computerized AI-based software made in this regard recently. Software such as BrainSee (soon to be FDA approved) can detect Alzheimer’s disease at a very early age by using non-invasive brain MRI. It will help in the development of novel therapies and interventions for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. This software also helps in choosing candidates for clinical trials by selecting people with the earliest signs of neurodegeneration. These people will benefit most from early interventions by slowing down the disease progression. BrainSee is an advantageous software and should be employed in the management of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Future is in the Hands of Nanotechnology
In the future, nanotechnology will play a role in treating dementia by directly repairing brain damage. Nanotechnology has been widely explored in medical imaging for the diagnosis of diseases. Nanogels, dendrimers, nano-ceria, fullerene, nanogold particles, and diamond derivatives have been found to have a neuroprotective role which is being explored further. Super magnetic particles increase contrast, which helps in better visualization, helping in diagnosis.
DNA nanoparticle conjugates, scanning tunneling microscopy, two-photon Rayleigh spectroscopy, and nanoparticle surface plasmon resonance are some of the diagnostic methods being researched for the diagnosis of AD. There are hurdles in the way, but the recent use of nanotechnology in chemotherapy has opened doors for thought processes and research in using this technology for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as well. AD is a multifactorial disease and has multiple pathogenic mechanisms, so the approach regarding nanotechnology should also be multifunctional and versatile.
Change in Policymaking is the Need of the Hour
A lot of technological advancements are enduring in the field of medicine, which can prove revolutionary in the management of dementia. These must be utilized to render urgent healthcare services and policy changes. Considering Alzheimer’s to be just a medical condition that needs medicinal/drug treatment is now a somewhat obsolete approach. Technology can be used to gather data, estimate risk, and provide support and monitoring. Technology can, in this way, contribute not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to caregiving and support.
Strong Dissemination of Technological Inventions
Emphasis must be placed on spreading and promoting the use of BrainSee algorithms on a massive scale to benefit the people as much as possible with the latest technologies. Providing awareness to people can help reduce the myriad of clinical byproducts of AD. Novel inventions will also play a noteworthy role in reducing the psychological and social pressures faced by anyone suffering from AD.
Need help with Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
Because of their age, Alzheimer’s sufferers have a hard time accepting new technological innovations. The scientific team at Darmiyan, Inc., the makers of BrainSee, can assist you and your patients with Alzheimer’s disease and speak with you about how their novel products and services might guide you in diagnosing and managing Alzheimer’s disease in a variety of ways. Feel free to get in touch with them as they believe their products and/or services will be clinically constructive for you and your patients for the long haul.