Summary of the good practice:
Increase in life expectancy brought to a raise of the pathological aging and dementia (especially Alzheimer’s disease, AD), leading to a low life quality, limited autonomy, and higher costs for assistance. A scientific question is: can lifestyle modify the risk of cognitive decline in elderly? Although some risk factors cannot be changed (aging, genetic predisposition, chronic kidney disease and chemotherapy due to blood cancer), they interact with other environmental factors modifiable by lifestyle. We have developed ICT solutions for the prevention and early diagnosis of dementing disorders in two national projects called “SMART HEALTH 2.0” and “OPLON”, granted by the Italian Government (MIUR). The first, SMARTAGING (developed in the SMART HEALTH 2.0, enriched in OPLON) grounded upon the Italian Telecom platform (“Nuvola Italian Home Doctor”) and some Telbios servers, exploits the concepts of preventive medicine providing: 1) instructions for healthy lifestyle; 2) telemonitoring of daily activities, training of cognitive functions; 3) telemonitoring of physiological parameters; 4) automatic feedback about subject’s response. A successful “proof of concept” of feasibility, usability, and satisfaction was reached in clinical experiments performed in 20 Apulian elderly subjects (ten survived to a blood cancer) over 3-6 months.
The second, MINDBRAIN (grounded upon the “DECIDE” platform; www.eu-decide.eu) exploits the use of MRI and EEG biomarkers for an early diagnosis of AD. A successful “proof of concept” of its diagnostic validity was reached in clinical experiments performed in about 100 Apulian elderly subjects with cognitive impairment.
New confirmatory experiments of are in progress in chronic kidney disease subjects.
Challenge addressed by the good practice
- Unhealthy lifestyle, an environmental factor boosting several diseases triggering neurodegenerative processes, especially in patients with chronic comorbidities such as renal diseases.
- Misleading sources of this information about a healthy nutrition and physical activity as a function of age and general healthy status.
- The need for periodic control of physiological parameters and behaviour to verify the adherence to activities in elderly and patients with chronic diseases.
- Lack of quantitative and repeatable measurements of cognitive functions in elderly during periodical visits to family doctor.
- Most of the diagnosis of dementia occur too late and interventions are less effective.
Key innovative elements of the good practice
Nowadays, UNIBA can offer SMARTAGING and MINDBRAIN services for clinical research on the telemonitoring and conditioning of healthy lifestyle for active aging and (2) the early diagnosis of several dementing disorders thanks to advanced MRI and EEG biomarkers. The innovative elements are the following: 1) An innovative ICT- based tablet battery of 8 cognitive tasks for daily assessment of cognitive functions and brain training; 2) automatic composition of a report on the subjects’ lifestyle and vital and physiological parameters as a feedback for the patient without the involvement of medical doctors in person; 3) Apulian neurological centres are aligned with the most advanced procedures for the extraction of MRI and EEG biomarkers for early diagnosis of AD.
Full Scirocco information on the good practice
Publications and reports on the good practice