Wearable devices are only getting more popular, the further we move into the 21st century. While these devices used to just be used in order to figure out how many steps we’ve taken in a given day, the technology is changing and improving all the time.
These days, wearable devices can tell you not only how many steps you’ve taken, but how many calories you’ve burned doing a given activity, how many more calories you need to burn in order to shave off that doughnut you had at breakfast and what your heart rate is while you’re trying to shed those calories. The technology is doing all of this while syncing to your phone and telling you when you’re getting a text or call, if you don’t have your smartphone sitting right next to you.
All of this is useful information to have, but researchers are attempting to take the next step by getting some wearable devices to tell you if you might be in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Boston University professor and neuropsychologist Rhoda Au has been gathering a ton of information from some specially designed pieces of technology that she believes might help find the diseases quicker than normal.
As with all things medical, the first steps towards fighting diseases like this, is to find it as quickly as possible. While we don’t yet have cures for these maladies, there is a chance we do have things that will slow down the progression of the disorders. Catch them really early and there’s a chance to ground the progression almost to a hault. Another researcher commented about the wearable devices that could find these symptoms, saying that there may be subtle changes in the daily behavior of people who are destined to develop Alzheimer’s, and if doctors knew what to look for, those behavior changes might show who would be at risk, years before they suffer overt cognitive impairment.
The pieces of tech that are going to help diagnose the problems are geared towards finding some rather minute physical changes that can be detected through the wearable devices. For now, Au is still collecting the data and a breakthrough is still a ways off. Still, any data when it comes to these diseases is good data according to researchers.
What do you think of using wearable devices to gather this kind of information? Do you think it will help the fight against Dementia and Alzheimer’s? Let us know in the comments below.
By Oliver VanDervoort
Photo Courtesy Jackie Ricciardi