Contemporary technology offers all kinds of scientific breakthroughs and advanced equipment that can make life easier. But when it comes to certain conditions and illnesses, this technology is still taking baby steps. Alzheimer’s disease in the time of Internet revolution has more attention than ever before. Therefore, itis really imperative to emphasise the advantages and potentials that this postindustrial, cyber-oriented era has to offer.
Futuristic approach to Alzheimer's
Living with Alzheimer’s can be submerging for the patients and their family members. People affected with Alzheimer's or dementia are faced with many challenges and obstacles that make their lives complicated. It's not only about memorising their medicines, exercising their brain, or getting enough physical activity. We are also talking about staying socially engaged and involved in family activities. At some point, current technology can really help. Of course, a certain amount of education is required, but basically, most of the modern technology has a friendly user interface. The secret is in the futuristic approach, both of technology producers and users. Some seniors have a certain amount of fear of modern devices and services. They tend to avoid them. But with the right approach of the caretakers, family members and even doctors, these devices could make Alzheimer's much more bearable.
One of the most advanced and futuristic examples of medical technology which helps patients and caregivers is the so-called "Smart pill". This intelligent pill contains ingestible sensors which provide caregivers with data about the time for medication. The pill is typically a part of the system that can send messages, or issue an alert. Furthermore, smart home sensors have shown some great results. They can be installed to wearable objects such as keychains, watches, jewellery etc… The sensors monitor senior's activity and send the info about their location or movement around the home. Motion sensors are greatly helpful. Not only that they can send the information about the movement in the household, they can inform the caregiver if the senior has left the home for a longer period of time.
Tracking in the modern times
he most frightening aspect of Alzheimer's is the possibility of patient's disappearance. Caregivers are stressed and worried about their loved ones who often simply wander off. Tracking and finding them has never been easier thanks to GPS technology. The individual has to carry, or even better, wear a device with GPS transmitter. The device then gives their location at any point. There are different devices in the market; smart watches, shoes with smart soles, or pendants.
The communication today involves a lot of video calls. In the previous decades, this has been a matter of science fiction, but today it's widely available. If a caretaker is busy or cannot spend 24 hours with the patient, a video call could be an excellent solution. The patient just needs to learn how to answer a video call. Most of the contemporary devices have simple and easy interfaces for receiving a video call.
Modern technology also promotes social activity, communication and speech exercises. Some studies have proven that staying socially active keeps the brain activity vital. Special applications designed for people with Alzheimer's can connect them with their family members. Also, they can get in touch with friends or other individuals with the similar condition. Smartphones and tablets offer a variety of cognitive training specially designed for them. These applications are aiming to increase “neuroplasticity,” which is the ability of the brain to adjust to various situations and find solutions.
The ease of getting educated
One of the most positive aspects of the Internet era is actually in the availability of useful information and quicker education. Learning about the condition, latest scientific discoveries, new technology, treatments... All this is available quicker than ever before! The right research can lead the caretaker to a higher level of caring for their loved ones. On the other hand, medical staff and doctors can improve their services with the right knowledge. This knowledge doesn't necessarily have to be related to medicine. A great example is the latest nutritional discovery which proves that ketogenic diet can slow down the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. More specifically, the utilisation of ketone bodies, as well as the use of ketogenic diet, was significantly effective in patients who participated in this study.
Alzheimer’s treatment technology advancement
Medical technology is mainly oriented around diagnostic when it comes to Alzheimer’s. Of course, some of the technology is used for brain exercise and slowing down the cognitive deterioration. But, an interesting study proposes that individuals with initial Alzheimer’s symptoms could benefit from a device that uses magnetic fields to generate minor electric drifts in the brain. The device is called NeuroAD and it received the approval for use in Europe and the U.K. This device is combined with a specific mental test which is performed during the procedure. The neuroAD apparatus looks like a dental chair. It has a touchscreen and adjustable arms which create magnetic fields. The fields are generated from metallic coils located near the person’s head. The magnetic fields influence the activity of neurones. The method can speed up learning by encouraging synaptic links among neurones. The patient completes assignments that involve the targeted brain cells for specific activity.
Is the future bright?
Most certainly - yes!. The technological breakthroughs with medical devices and software are rapidly growing. The scientists at the University of Vienna developed a unique application which is performing a research on Alzheimer’s disease while the phone is being charged. Furthermore, Google glass throughout GPS operation serves as a tool for elders with Alzheimer’s. This device is supporting them with reminders on where to go and how to get there. This is improving memory function and independence. Of course, the main goal of futuristic technology should concentrate on preventing and treating Alzheimer's, but we must admit, any device or technology that can help, is a step forward.