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Groundbreaking clinic uses AI in dementia fight

New AI approach being pioneered to help earlier diagnosis of dementia.

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A revolutionary AI-led approach to detecting pre-dementia symptoms is to form part of a new NHS clinic dedicated to driving improvements in early-stage dementia diagnosis.

Cognetivity’s technology is to be deployed within a new remote Brain Health Clinic at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust. Among the first of its kind in the world, the clinic will provide in-depth subtyping of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), followed by periodic, remote assessment of those who are expected to progress to Alzheimer’s dementia.

The Integrated Cognitive Assessment (ICA) devised by Cognetivity will play a key role in the clinic’s aim of enhancing early diagnosis of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and provide timely access to treatment. 

Cognetivity’s iPad-based test also supports the clinic’s focus on remote medical assessment, the importance of which has been reinforced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Proven through clinical trials and numerous peer-reviewed publications, the ICA developed by Cognetivity has been hailed as a game-changer in dementia diagnosis, used in both primary and secondary care to find pre-dementia symptoms through a simple test in a quicker time and at a lower cost than ever before. 

Broadly, its technology works by showing a patient a series of pictures, to which they have to respond as quickly and accurately as possible whether they have seen a pre-specified image category. 

AI algorithms then cluster test performance in terms of accuracy, speed and image properties, giving rapid and highly accurate results. 

The information can then prove crucial in determining next steps for patients, securing better outcomes, saving significant sums of money in care and examination costs, and offering “queue-busting functionality” in cutting waiting times and removing the need for potentially unnecessary appointments. 

Additionally, the ICA’s language independence and freedom from cultural bias is particularly significant in serving the highly diverse population of around 2 million patients to which SLaM provides services.

“This clinic is a really exciting prospect for dementia diagnosis and care,” says senior NHS geriatric psychiatrist Professor Dag Aarsland, who has overseen the clinic’s creation. 

“It’s fantastic to have the ICA involved, as a highly innovative tool, fit for a highly innovative project, that brings enormous potential to improve patient outcomes.”

Dr Sina Habibi, Cognetivity CEO, adds: “We’re thrilled to see the ICA deployed as part of this ground-breaking new clinic at one of the UK’s premier mental health trusts. 

“Early-stage diagnosis, facilitated by remote cognitive assessment and monitoring – this is the bright future of dementia medicine, without a doubt, and we’re delighted to be a part of it.”

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Osteoarthritis: breaking the cycle

Medical technology company Ottobock shares its expertise on approaches to the condition.

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Sponsored feature

Why is Cartilage Important?

Bones that come in contact with other bones are covered by cartilage at their contact points. Cartilage does not have blood vessels – it is supplied with nutrients through movement of the joint. That’s why regular exercise is so important!

Cartilage ensures that the joint surfaces move against each other in the most efficient way and with little friction. It absorbs shock, cushioning the joint, and distributes the forces acting on the joint.

If cartilage is damaged and its gliding properties are affected, it can no longer serve its purpose and the joints range of movement can become limited.

Typical Progression of Osteoarthritis

When osteoarthritis of the knee develops due to joint malalignment, an accident, advancing age, obesity or excessive strain, the damaged cartilage is no longer able to properly fulfil its function.

This results in pain and re­duced mobility. The affected patient instinctively assumes a relieving posture to reduce strain on the knee.

However, this often leads to new prob­lems in other places, such as the hip, and reduces the supply of nutrients to the cartilage, for which movement is required – sparking a vicious circle.

The cartilage develops cracks and begins to break down. At the same time, the bone thickens at the site of the damage.

When the cartilage layer is completely worn away, the affected bones come into direct contact and rub against each other causing joint pain and inflammation.

The thickest joint cartilage is located behind the kneecap (patella). This is an area of high stress. Osteoarthritis occurring in this area is known as patellafemoral osteoarthritis

Signs and Symptoms

There are several common symptoms that signal knee osteoarthritis. They can occur individually or together. However, with the initial onset, you may not notice any of these symptoms

When symptoms appear they usually occur in the following order:

  • Cracking in the joint
  • Pain during load bearing activities, such as carrying a heavy object
  • Pain during every day activities, such as climbing the stairs
  • Reduced mobility
  • Swelling and inflammation

Non-Invasive Treatments

Joint specific exercises: with regular exercise mobility can be maintained and muscle strengthened, ensuring the cartilage is supplied with the nutrients it needs.

Temperature: with acute inflammation, cold relieves pain and reduces swelling. Heat relaxes the muscles and tendons and increases the flow of nutrients. Heat may only be applied when the joint is not inflamed.

Creams: various over the counter products are available at your local pharmacy including gels and creams that can help relieve pain.

Orthopaedic devices (braces and supports): these are applied externally to the knee, reducing pain and improving mobility.

Lifestyle: living a healthy lifestyle can help to combat osteoarthritis. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle reduces the chance of obesity, putting less stress and strain through the knee joints.

Orthotic Options

An orthotic fitting is a key component in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It can provide the following:

  • Pain relief
  • Support daily activities
  • Support during activities that affect the joint, whether at work or during sports

Did you know?

An osteoarthritis patient takes an average of around 1,200 tablets a year to manage pain. But this can lead to damage to the stomach, bowel and liver.

An orthosis from the Agilium line is therefore a good alternative. It’s worth-while for anyone with knee osteoarthritis to test the effectiveness of the orthoses themselves.

The Agilium Line

The braces in our Agilium line are designed specifically to target the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Each works in a different way to address the various characteristics of osteoarthritis of the knee. At the same time, we placed great emphasis on their comfort and suitability for daily use.

The Agilium Freestep, the Agilium Reactive and the Agilium Softfit are used to treat unicompartmental osteoarthritis of the knee.

The Agilium Patella is used for patients with patellofemoral arthritis.

The Agilium Freestep is used to treat OA, although it is not applied directly to the knee. Instead is worn on the foot, right inside the shoe! For targeted relieve, it alters the load-line of the knee – the point where the body weight impacts the cartilage.

The Agilium Softfit is a pull on knee brace with a textile base and single upright that stabilises and relieves the knee using a three point force system to offload the affected compartment (side) of the knee.

The Agilium Reactive also uses a three point force system to offload the affected compartment (side) of the knee. However, the innovative closure system in the upper calf provides comfort while sitting without compromising the stable position when standing.

The Agilium Patella combines a textile structure and stabilising component with a dynamic re-alignment mechanism enabling it to maintain the central alignment of the knee cap, reducing pressure behind the knee cap.

Find the appropriate brace with Agilium Select.

Visit our website or go to ottobock.com/agilium-select

If you would like to know more about any of these products please get in touch via orthoticsuk@ottobock.com or visit our website for more information: www.ottobock.co.uk

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Dementia

Seven devices that are revolutionising dementia care

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dementia technology
From remote monitoring to GPS tracking, technology can help put family worries at ease when caring for someone with dementia

Technology in the care system has come a long way, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for more remote assistive technology.

Although there is no cure for degenerative diseases like dementia, utilising technology can ease the burden on both carers and patients, particularly those living on their own.

A 2020 study from the University of Oxford found that 100 per cent of carers involved said they or their patients benefited from assistive technology.

With this in mind, NR Times takes a closer look at seven devices which are enabling greater independence and life quality for people with dementia.

SmartSole GPS tracker

One concern for families when their relatives with dementia live on their own is the fear that they will leave the house and get lost.

Research suggests this is quite a common problem, with an estimated 40,000 dementia patients going missing for the first time each year.

This is where the SmartSole GPS tracker can come in.

The product uses cellular technology to send its location every five minutes so relatives and carers can locate those living with dementia.

What makes the SmartSole unique is its discreteness. It fits into almost every shoe, so if someone does go missing, those with access to the monitoring system will be alerted straight away.

The Simple Music Player

Music can have a profound effect on people with neurological conditions. Being able to use the technology that provides this, however, can be difficult for those with dementia.

The Simple Music Player is a recommended product from the Alzheimer’s society and it makes listening to music straightforward.

Styled like a traditional radio – which is instantly recognisable for the elderly – the device is easy to use. Simply lift the lid and music will begin to play.

DayClox

Also keeping things simple is the DayClox which makes timekeeping easy and understandable for dementia patients.

Available in both traditional and digital forms, the clock simply shows what day it is and whether it is morning, afternoon, evening or night.

Working out specific times can be a challenge for those with dementia, so the DayClox can assist when it comes to things like keeping track of when someone needs to take their medication.

CaringBridge App

Although not specifically designed for dementia patients, CaringBridge is a free platform that allows everyone involved in caring for an individual to keep up-to-date with their progress.

It gives carers the chance to set up a personal webpage for a patient, which they can post photo and video updates about how they are progressing.

Other people can visit the page, where they can like (called Well Wishes) and comment on the updates, as well as reading their personal story and journal updates.

The Extra Simple Dementia Mobile Phone – Doro 580

The Extra Simple Dementia Mobile Phone, by tech giants Doro, takes away any complication around giving a loved one a phone call.

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones; and some studies suggest that loneliness can speed up the onset of dementia.

With its easy-to-use set up and large buttons, the Dementia Mobile Phone makes calls seamless. Simply link a phone number to each button and press to begin.

Canary Care

Looking for an all-in-one monitoring system? The Canary Care portal is a discrete, wifi-free system that tracks a person’s behaviour without the use of cameras or microphones.

Not only can it follow a person’s movements, bathroom visits and sleeping patterns, it also allows caregivers to track their home’s temperature, sending alerts if anything looks unusual.

Care can be shared around the family through the portal and reminders can be set to check that the proper medication is being taken.

Howz

Howz is similar to Canary Care as it allows those in charge of care to keep track of a person’s activity, notifying them if anything unexpected occurs.

Funded by NHSX, the system is unique as it can connect to a Smart Meter to monitor the electricity output in a person’s home.

This means it can detect any sustained electrical activity, which can help dementia patients in the event they forget to turn off their appliances.

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Tech

Rehab robotics advanced further through partnership

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Global rehabilitation technology business Fourier Intelligence is collaborating with the internationally-recognised University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in advancing research in the fast-developing field.

The collaboration, the latest pioneering research partnership to be formed by Fourier and academia, will further develop current solutions to be more effective and versatile within the rehabilitation technology industry.

The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signing event with Fourier aligns UMMC’s mission towards driving excellence in clinical research, empowering human capital, and uplifting healthcare-related institutions.

Both parties said that though this new joint effort, more innovative solutions will be developed in rehab tech.

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“In the last five years, rehabilitation medicine practice has heavily utilised technology as part of our clinical service,” says Professor Nazirah Hasnan.

“It encompasses clinical work in motor recovery neurorehabilitation, structured cognitive rehabilitation, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, innovative exercise prescription, prosthesis and orthosis prescription, gait analysis and training, and musculoskeletal treatment approaches.

“With this new collaboration with Fourier Intelligence, we hope to expand our capabilities and expertise in robotic rehabilitation. It can only lead us both towards a higher level of medical frontier and improve human health which is the core of our interest.

“Thank you to Mr Zen Koh and Fourier Intelligence for this collaboration, as we look forward to joining a network of world-class collaborators in robotic rehabilitation and advances in robotic technology.”

“We are glad to start this collaboration with UMMC’s Department of Rehabilitation and Biomedical Engineering team. This will be a key initiative to bridge the gap between rehabilitation therapists and biomedical engineers,” said Owen Teoh, general manager of Fourier.

“My team and I are very excited to work alongside such an established and driven organization such as the UMMC with the development of this project,” added co-founder Zen Koh.

“Implementing innovative techniques and research with our current solutions can break the boundaries of rehabilitative technology and we now find ourselves surrounded by individuals that can help actualise that vision.”

The partnership will focus on combining the ExoMotus™ X2 and ArmMotus™ M2 with FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) technology. Ultimately, the partnership will collaborate on multi-centre trials that will involve Fourier Intelligence’s extensive global network of researchers and laboratories.

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Fourier Intelligence’s ExoMotus™ X2 and ArmMotus™ M2 Pro

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