What if by remaining attentive to daily movements it was possible to detect early onset of dementia ? This is in any case the new discovery of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (source 1).
According to them, wearable motion tracking devices could be useful in providing early warnings of cognitive decline in the elderly. Using data recorded by sensors in nearly 600 participants, they found significant differences in the movements of those in great shape and those with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. The earlier this neurodegenerative disease is detected, the quicker appropriate treatment can begin. These conclusions were published on July 19 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“We tend to think of physical activity as a potential therapy to slow cognitive decline, but this study reminds us that cognitive decline can in turn slow physical activity – and we may one day be able to monitor and to detect these changes for earlier and more effective tests. This would delay and perhaps prevent the cognitive disorders that lead to Alzheimer’s disease”, explains the lead author of the study, Amal Wanigatunga, assistant scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.
For example, scientists noticed that those with dementia reported less activity during waking hours. They also found a higher fragmentation of physical activity over short periods in patients with cognitive impairment. “Seeing this difference in the afternoon was interesting – one of the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia is the sunset phenomenon involving increased confusion and mood swings that begin in the afternoon. , and it may be that these activity markers capture certain movements related to these symptoms,” explains Amal Wanigatunga.