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Apple/ Eli Lilly’s bet: Wearable and mobile consumer devices may well help us detect cognitive impairment and dementia


Apple, Eli Lil­ly research whether devices can detect demen­tia signs (Health­care Dive):

Demen­tia, which affects rough­ly 47 mil­lion peo­ple across the globe, costs $1 tril­lion world­wide, accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion. Ear­ly test­ing for the con­di­tion is spo­radic and, when con­duct­ed, it’s often not sen­si­tive enough to detect ear­ly stages of men­tal decline, cre­at­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty for tech com­pa­nies like Apple to see whether they can turn a prof­it.

The “rich, lon­gi­tu­di­nal infor­ma­tion” from wear­able and mobile con­sumer devices can be “mined for phys­i­o­log­i­cal and behav­ioral sig­na­tures of cog­ni­tive impair­ment and pro­vide new avenues for detect­ing [mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment] in a time­ly and cost-effec­tive man­ner,” researchers wrote in the paper. The team includ­ed five authors from Apple, five from Eli Lil­ly and five from Evi­da­tion.

Data was col­lect­ed from a slew of plat­forms includ­ing an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and a Bed­dit sleep mon­i­tor­ing device, then stored on a HIPAA-com­pli­ant Evi­da­tion plat­form. Researchers had access to the data through a secure net­work called a VPN before mod­el­ing … The ini­tial results are promis­ing, but researchers stressed they’re only a “start­ing point” for fur­ther stud­ies on using the con­sumer gad­gets to pre­dict cog­ni­tive decline, which includes Alzheimer’s dis­ease.”

The Study:

Devel­op­ing Mea­sures of Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment in the Real World from Con­sumer-Grade Mul­ti­modal Sen­sor Streams (Pro­ceed­ings of the 25th ACM SIGKDD Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Knowl­edge Dis­cov­ery & Data Min­ing):

  • Abstract: The ubiq­ui­ty and remark­able tech­no­log­i­cal progress of wear­able con­sumer devices and mobile-com­put­ing plat­forms (smart phone, smart watch, tablet), along with the mul­ti­tude of sen­sor modal­i­ties avail­able, have enabled con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing of patients and their dai­ly activ­i­ties. Such rich, lon­gi­tu­di­nal infor­ma­tion can be mined for phys­i­o­log­i­cal and behav­ioral sig­na­tures of cog­ni­tive impair­ment and pro­vide new avenues for detect­ing MCI in a time­ly and cost-effec­tive man­ner. In this work, we present a plat­form for remote and unob­tru­sive mon­i­tor­ing of symp­toms relat­ed to cog­ni­tive impair­ment using sev­er­al con­sumer-grade smart devices. We demon­strate how the plat­form has been used to col­lect a total of 16TB of data dur­ing the Lil­ly Explorato­ry Dig­i­tal Assess­ment Study, a 12-week fea­si­bil­i­ty study which mon­i­tored 31 peo­ple with cog­ni­tive impair­ment and 82 with­out cog­ni­tive impair­ment in free liv­ing con­di­tions. We describe how care­ful data uni­fi­ca­tion, time-align­ment, and impu­ta­tion tech­niques can han­dle miss­ing data rates inher­ent in real-world set­tings and ulti­mate­ly show util­i­ty of these dis­parate data in dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing symp­to­matics from healthy con­trols based on fea­tures com­put­ed pure­ly from device data.

The Study in Context:

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Technology

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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