From: Boston University
Published February 17, 2017 02:05 PM

Wearing Your Brain on Your Sleeve

One BU researcher uses wearable devices to look for clues to early dementia and Alzheimer’s

In 2014, more than 93,000 people in the United States died from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The complex nature of Alzheimer’s makes it difficult to understand and predict, until it’s too late. Boston University professor and neuropsychologist Rhoda Au is trying to change that. Through the use of wearable digital devices, Au is collecting an enormous amount of data on people over time with the hope of finding the minute physical changes that correspond with the slow mental decline of Alzheimer’s.

Au, who discussed her research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston in February 2017, says that what she really wants is to never do another Alzheimer’s test in the lab again. “It’s really labor-intensive to bring people [into the lab],” she says, and it doesn’t give a full picture of an illness. Cognitive decline can change day-to-day or even hour-to-hour, but lab tests are just a snapshot and don’t provide the important nuances. Instead of lab tests, Au wants to use wearable devices to try to detect cognitive decline through how people live their daily lives.

Read more at Boston University

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

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