Remote monitoring of dementia’s early warning signs

Towards detecting early warning signs of dementia in the at-home setting: Feasibility of remote digital passive monitoring of cognition in cognitively healthy elderly

Many healthy elderly worry about dementia, in particular when confronted with forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. At-home monitoring of cognition could fill an important gap in the monitoring of these early warning signs. The ‘Remote Monitoring of Dementia’s Early Warning Signs’ project established a partnership between the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam and Neurocast B.V. to explore passive smartphone monitoring as a measure of cognition.

Around 50 million patients suffer from dementia world-wide. Patients progressively deteriorate and become increasingly dependent on caregivers for everyday functioning. Dementia is considered a major healthcare challenge due to its high socioeconomic burden and high healthcare cost. It is essential to capture its early signs, such as cognitive changes, to provide optimal care and thereby improving quality of life.

Smartphones have become increasingly common among elderly, and passively measuring smartphone interaction offers the possibility to measure participants throughout the day. This will provide fine-grained measurements of cognition. Frequent passive measurements of smartphone interactions, such as typing speed and precision, can give insight into the manifestation and development of early cognitive changes.

This research project will explore the feasibility of a passive monitoring tool, Neurokeys, in cognitively healthy people over age 50. In this proof-of-concept study, facilitators and barriers that elderly might have towards passive monitoring will be identified, and individual differences in smartphone interactions in elderly will be investigated to assess the stability of smartphone-based monitoring.

By establishing proof-of-concept of passive monitoring as an unobtrusive at-home measurement of cognition, this research project facilitates identification of potential early-warning-signs, and contributes to early identification and advancement of treatments in dementia.

The current project wants to assess the feasibility of collecting smartphone interactions from healthy elderly. This will allow them to investigate the relation between smartphone interactions and cognition in healthy elderly, which could enable detection of early warning signs of cognitive decline.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
5 - 7
Time period
24 months