AI News, Gait assessed with body-worn sensors may help detect onset of Alzheimer's disease

Gait assessed with body-worn sensors may help detect onset of Alzheimer's disease

A pilot study involving Newcastle University, UK, has revealed low-cost wearable devices could improve clinical trial efficiency and encourage research investment.

Identification of clinical biomarkers, such as changes in walking characteristics and behaviours, are known to be important factors when looking at early warning signs of dementia.

Findings of a feasibility study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, shows that wearable sensors offer a good way to assess changes in how a person walks and also can be used for continuous 'free-living' monitoring of gait during everyday activities.

Professor Rochester said: 'How someone walks is not routinely used in clinical trials because the tools needed are typically restricted to specialised labs and one-off testing, missing subtle fluctuations in symptoms.

Findings show data for comprehensive and clinically appropriate measures can be obtained for walking behaviour and pattern, and gait characteristics relating to the pace, timing, variability, and asymmetry of walking.

Experts have concluded that it is feasible to assess quantitative gait characteristics in both the clinic and home environment in patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease with body-worn sensors.

Targeting people early An estimated 46.8m people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015, and with an ageing population in most developed countries, predictions suggest this number may double by 2050.

If experts can identify the biomarkers present in this very early stage, there may be the chance of treating the disease earlier, which is vital to prevent damage to people's memory and thinking.

A step forward for dementia studies: body-worn sensors to assess how we walk

The Deep and Frequent study – a multicentre study within DPUK – is the first major study to take a whole range of different measures, including gait, in order to uncover which are the best early indicators that someone may have the disease.

Scientists are looking for effective, non-invasive tests to show whether someone is in the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease – the best time to offer patients the chance to take part in clinical trials of possible treatments.

Experts say assessing gait with body-worn sensors is a good way to assess changes in how a person walks and has the potential for affordable, multicentre and home-based monitoring that benefits patients, clinical management and the efficiency of clinical trials.

The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study is an extensive series of tests including brain scans, gait assessments, cognitive tests and a range of blood tests on 250 people.  Researchers are looking for efficient ways to recognise the early stages of the disease and those who may be suitable for trials of possible treatments.

Neurology News

​BY LIZETTE BORRELI Body-worn sensors may help assess changes in gait at home and in the clinic in patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease, according to a small, pilot study published online on April 10 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Safe gait involves complex cognitive processes, and slowed gait speed has been linked to falls, mortality, and cognitive decline.

To evaluate the feasibility of gait assessment, participants wore small wearable sensors (accelerometers) on their lower backs for three gait assessments:

The preliminary findings found that body-worn sensors were feasible as a non-invasive clinical tool that could quantitatively assesses gait over a prolonged period in people with mild Alzheimer's disease.

The implementation of body-worn sensors in annual health assessments could help track gait changes over time, and act as a "red flag"

The findings warrant further investigation with a larger sample size and a control population to strengthen data interpretation and assess the usefulness of gait as a clinical biomarker of cognitive impairment and prodromal dementia, the study authors concluded.

Low cost wearable sensors may help detect Alzheimer’s disease

Low cost, wearable sensors that assess walking gait can help detect Alzheimer’s disease early and monitor progression of the illness in a cost-effective way, a study has found.

“How someone walks is not routinely used in clinical trials because the tools needed are typically restricted to specialised labs and one-off testing, missing subtle fluctuations in symptoms,”

Findings show data for comprehensive and clinically appropriate measures can be obtained for walking behaviour and pattern, and gait characteristics relating to the pace, timing, variability, and asymmetry of walking.

Experts have concluded that it is feasible to assess quantitative gait characteristics in both the clinic and home environment in patients with early onset Alzheimer’s disease with body-worn sensors.

An estimated 46.8m people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015, and with an ageing population in most developed countries, predictions suggest this number may double by 2050.

If experts can identify the biomarkers present in this very early stage, there may be the chance of treating the disease earlier, which is vital to prevent damage to people’s memory and thinking.

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