Dementia – Developments In Care

 

New developments in Healthtech are happening all the time. Here is one which has hit the news headlines recently that really sounds very interesting.

 

Dementia Research

Researchers at a Japanese University have developed an AI system that can help to diagnose dementia.

The system that they have devised is able to detect the very early signs, much earlier than traditional methods. This means that patients can be made aware of potential problems very early on. Giving them more time to take  full advantage of treatment options, and so have a better long term outcome.

 

Currently, diagnosing dementia can be time consuming, expensive and distressing for patients. Traditional scans are used in conjunction with cognitive function tests, to check the function of the brain.

A global ageing population means that now more people are developing dementia, so there is a real need for quick, effective diagnosis that can lead to an earlier intervention.

New Developments

A group of researchers who are based at Osaka University and The NARA Institute of Science and Technology have discovered that it is indeed possible to detect the very early signs of dementia . And that  it is possible to do this with AI, quickly, effectively and in a non invasive manner. This helps patients save time, money and more importantly have a much less stressful experience.

 

This  technique uses machine learning in such a way that it is possible to study the way that elderly people speak when answering simple questions from a computer avatar.

The AI system is able to create a dialogue with elderly patients. It then records  their speech patterns, language, and faces. From this information it is then able to complete an evaluation from analyzing gaze, response times,  intonation, and language used.

After just six questions, the AI system was able to identify which patients in a control group did suffer from dementia, with a success rate of over 90%.

 

Future Potential

The senior research author Takashi Kudo said, “If this technology is further developed, it will become possible to know whether or not an elderly individual is in the early stages of dementia through conversations with computer avatars at home on a daily basis. It will encourage them to seek medical help, leading to early diagnosis.”

 

One of the main advantages here, is that not only is the success rate of the test already high, with a potential for early and accurate diagnosis,  it can be a test which is very easily conducted at home. There is no need to visit any medical center, or Doctors office. This convenience can only be a positive thing – often travelling  can be a factor in determining whether an elderly patient feels well or confident enough to undergo traditional methods of testing.

 

This is an excellent example of how advances in the health tech industry mean  that healthcare is now becoming much more accessible. And more importantly, here is a major improvement in diagnosis and treatments for a whole range of issues. Patient care with regards to dementia is one of these areas which can benefit hugely.

 

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