Alzheimer’s Association and Intel Collaborate on Home Care Technology
The Alzheimer’s Association and Intel Corporation today announced the formation of a consortium to spur development of technologies for the home to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. The Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer Care (ETAC) consortium plans to fund more than $1 million of research to develop new models of Alzheimer care based upon current and evolving technologies in computing, communications and home health care.
“The formation of this consortium is the first of its kind between a leader in Alzheimer research and a leader in the computing technology industry,” said William Thies, vice president, medical and scientific affairs for the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is our hope that through this effort we will improve the quality of life for millions of people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families, friends and professional health care partners.”
Managed by the Alzheimer’s Association, the ETAC consortium will fund research grants to explore new ways to help delay the onset of disabling symptoms, compensate for functional impairments and postpone and/or prevent placement in residential care settings. The Alzheimer’s Association and Intel will invite other technology companies, universities, industry labs, government agencies and voluntary health organizations to join the consortium and to help fund this research.
“By working with the Alzheimer’s Association we hope to stimulate innovative research that uncovers how computing and communications technologies can support behaviors that help prevent and detect disease, foster independence and improve quality of life,” said David Tennenhouse, vice president and director of research for Intel.
The Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer Care consortium grew out of several separate, on-going efforts at the Alzheimer’s Association and Intel. In 2001, the Alzheimer’s Association convened a technology research group to review the impact of emerging technologies on the quality of care and health services for Alzheimer’s disease. The group consisted of caregivers as well as experts from diverse disciplines including bioengineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, communications, systems design, software engineering, medicine, nursing, biology, economics, finance and business.
In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association is the largest private funder of Alzheimer research having put nearly $140 million towards research into the causes, treatment, prevention and cure of the disease. The association’s research grants program encourages work by new investigators and innovative, state-of-the-art projects.
“The ETAC consortium represents an expansion of the Alzheimer’s Association’s medical and scientific research program into medical and electronic technology,” added Thies. “ETAC is a first step toward building a consortium of businesses, healthcare groups and aging organizations that share the widespread industry concern that current care systems and models will be inadequate to accommodate the increasing demand for individualized care.”
Intel’s Proactive Health strategic research project is developing in-home technology prototypes to test applications that address the needs of the world’s aging population. An example of this technology is a wireless “sensor network” made up of thousands of small, sensing devices that could someday be embedded throughout the home to monitor important behavioral tendencies such as sleep and eating patterns, location and also send prompts to a person such as reminders to take medication. The data collected by the sensor network could help in the detection and prevention of dementia or other medical conditions, as well as help a caregiver locate a patient in need.