Scientists have developed an application that “knows” how to detect dementia in its early stages

Scientists have developed an application that “knows” how to detect dementia in its early stages

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Scientists have developed an application that “knows” how to detect dementia in its early stages

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Scientists have created a smartphone app that can detect early signs of frontotemporal dementia in people who are at high risk of developing it. The tests performed with it are as accurate as medical examinations.

The results of their research by a group of American scientists published in a scientific journal in JAMA Network Open, informs The Guardian.

Frontotemporal dementia is a disease due to which the number of neurons in the cortex of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain decreases. This impairs a person’s skills such as the ability to plan ahead, prioritize tasks, filter out distractions, and control impulses.

Frontotemporal dementia mostly manifests itself in middle age. About a third of cases of this disease have a genetic cause.

Currently, there are problems with diagnosing such dementia and tracking people’s response to treatment, which may only be effective in the early stages.

“Most patients with frontotemporal dementia are diagnosed relatively late in the disease because they are young and their symptoms are mistaken for psychiatric disorders,” – said co-author of the study Adam Boxer from the University of California in San Francisco.

The goal of the scientists was to create an application with cognitive tests that could record people’s speech as they passed. In particular, they include the assessment of executive functions.

“We created tests for walking, balance and slow motion, as well as various aspects of speech,” – said co-author of the study Adam Staffaroni.

Scientists tested the application on 360 adults with a high genetic risk of developing frontotemporal dementia. Including those who do not yet have obvious symptoms.

The experiment showed that the app can accurately detect dementia in such people, and may even be more sensitive to early signs of frontotemporal dementia than standard neuropsychological tests done in clinics.

Currently, scientists have no plans to make the application publicly available. However, they hope it can help boost research into frontotemporal dementia.

“Ultimately, the app could be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments, replacing many or most of the in-person visits to clinical trial sites,” Staffaroni added.

We will remind, scientists discovered blood proteins that can warn about the development of dementia.



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